3.7 Medical Practitioners - Prescriber IDs and Practitioner Reference IDs

General Policy Description 

Each British Columbian pharmacist, physician, surgeon, dentist, podiatrist, veterinarian, midwife, naturopath, optometrist and nurse practitioner on PharmaNet is assigned both a

  • Practitioner identification reference code (Pract ID Ref) that identifies the licensing body
  • Practitioner identification number (also called a Practitioner ID, Pract. ID, Prescriber ID or College ID) a unique number that identifies the individual practitioner

The Practitioner ID is issued by the licensing body (e.g., the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia or the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia).

Policy Details

All prescriptions must be submitted on PharmaNet with a valid Pract ID Ref and a Practitioner ID (i.e., the ID of the prescriber or, in the case of over‑the-counter medications, the Pharmacist ID).

The Practitioner ID number must be used, not the MSP billing number.

Practitioners from other provinces (except Alberta) are assigned generic Practitioner IDs; PharmaNet does not use the identification numbers issued by their respective colleges.

 Alberta physicians and surgeons do have individual Practitioner IDs on PharmaNet, although there may be some exceptions; Alberta dentists, podiatrists and veterinarians are assigned a generic Practitioner ID.

Out-of-province practitioners, however, are always assigned valid Pract ID Ref codes to identify the relevant College.

Practitioner codes

For a claim to adjudicate on PharmaNet, a pharmacist must submit a valid, individual Practitioner ID number for a B.C. or Alberta practitioner.

Generic Practitioner IDs are to be used for all other out‑of‑province practitioners.

Exception: Specialists have six-character Practitioner IDs. Use the generic ID 99999 in these cases.

Please see the list of Practitioner ID reference codes and Practitioner ID codes (identifying the relevant regulatory body) for Canadian prescribers.

Using Practitioner IDs for non-prescription items

When submitting claims for non-prescription products, pharmacists may enter their Pharmacist ID in place of the Practitioner ID. If a pharmacist elects to use the Practitioner’s ID, the pharmacist must obtain authorization from the practitioner to dispense the item.

Pharmacists may also need to use their Pharmacist ID in place of a Practitioner ID under other circumstances. For instance, the Pharmacist ID would be used for

  • Claiming non-prescription items eligible for PharmaCare coverage
  • Updating a patient medication history with a non-prescription item that is not eligible for PharmaCare coverage
  • Dispensing emergency supplies of medication
  • Claiming a fee for administration of a publicly funded vaccine
  • Claiming a clinical services fee
  • Claiming medical supplies that are eligible for PharmaCare coverage such as insulin pumps

Device providers should use their own ID only for claiming supplies when they do not have current information on any practitioner responsible for the patient’s care.



Procedures for pharmacists


  1. Search the local system for an existing practitioner entry.
    Once satisfied the prescriber is a legitimate practitioner, an entry for that prescriber may be created on the local system.
  2. Use the Prescriber Identification transaction (TIP) to search by surname only.
    If too many entries are returned, search by surname and first initial.
    You can use the same transaction to retrieve practitioner identity and practice information by entering the Practitioner ID number and Practitioner ID Reference code, if known.
  3. If you cannot locate the practitioner, call the PharmaNet Help Desk.

For information on contacting the Help Desk, refer to Section 11–Contacts for Health Care Practitioners & Providers.

The Help Desk validates the practitioner name by repeating the name search or by contacting the appropriate college. If necessary, the practitioner can be added to PharmaNet, or the relevant college can be contacted (for B.C. physicians and surgeons only) to have the practitioner added.

Please supply the following information to the PharmaNet Help Desk:

  • Complete practitioner name
  • Practitioner address
  • Practitioner gender

The Help Desk will ask you to use the generic Practitioner ID (99999) with the ID Reference code 81 in order to fill the prescription. It will contact the Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons for confirmation so the physician can be added to PharmaNet.