COVID-19 information for pharmacies

Last updated: April 8, 2022

During the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Provincial Health Officer asks pharmacists to use their judgement and the range of options available to them, including prescription renewals.  PharmaCare takes direction from the PHO and develops policies and processes to further help pharmacies provide first-line patient care. These are communicated in the PharmaCare Newsletter.​

For more information about COVID-19 in B.C., visit the BC Centre for Disease Control’s COVID-19 page for health professionals.

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PharmaCare pays a fee of $18.00 for the administration of each dose of a publicly-funded COVID-19 vaccine.

As part of the province’s response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, pharmacies will also receive payment for COVID-19 vaccinations administered at the pharmacy by non-pharmacist practitioners who have been authorized to provide immunizations by their respective regulatory colleges.

The BCPhA, with the Ministry of Health, has created a guide with important details about: 

  • ImmsBC data entry (unique to the COVID-19 vaccine)
  • Inventory tracking using your office use medication PHN (O-Med)
  • Cold-chain reporting, reimbursement
  • After-care and how to manage and report adverse events following immunization (AEFI)
  • How to prevent and report wastage

Resources:

Community pharmacies can claim $75 per each case of the publicly-funded Rapid Response® COVID-19 antigen test kits (“RAT kit”) they provide B.C. residents aged 18 and over. Pharmacies should include an instruction sheet with every kit provided or share the QR code with those who want to read the instructions online. The instruction sheet (PDF) can be printed from the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) website in different languages. Eligible individuals can pick up a kit containing five tests from participating pharmacies at no cost.

People can also pick up kits for family members or another person; they must provide the person’s name and date of birth. As the age and ID requirements have changed rapidly, please watch the PharmaCare Newsletter for further updates. Individuals should pick up a test kit when they are asymptomatic, to use at a future time when they have symptoms.

PharmaNet instructions:

  1. Enter PIN for RAT case: 66128325
  2. Enter your pharmacy’s O-Med PHN instead of entering a patient PHN.
  3. Enter Quantity as the number of cases. Do NOT enter the quantity as the number of tests or kits. Payment of claims will be monitored to ensure that quantities are entered correctly.
  4. The claim will adjudicate as a non-benefit and will be paid monthly.

To prevent unnecessary personal interactions, a temporary exemption to the federal Controlled Drugs and Substances Act allows non-pharmacist pharmacy staff to deliver controlled substances.

The College of Pharmacists of British Columbia amended Professional Practice Policy (PPP-71) on March 17, 2020, allowing pharmacists to authorize/initiate delivery of opioid agonist therapy (OAT) medications when appropriate, rather than requiring prescriber pre-approval. For OAT medications, prescribers must be notified as soon as is practical that delivery has commenced, and delivery must cease if the prescriber indicates it is not permitted.

When delivering to a patient in self-isolation, please follow safe procedures that allow you to deliver the medications, identify the patient, confirm receipt of the medications, and maintain a 2m distance.

Documentation requirements

Pharmacies receiving verbal orders for controlled drugs and substances from a prescriber must record the prescription details in the patient’s file (either paper or electronic). Please see the College's website for detailed documentation instructions (PDF, 210KB).

Due to the need to minimize in-person interactions during the COVID-19 crisis, the requirement for patient signatures on the below forms is temporarily suspended:

Frequent Dispensing Authorization form

As of April 17, 2020, the requirement for a patient signature on the HLTH 5378 - Frequent Dispensing Authorization (PDF, 543KB) form is temporarily suspended. Pharmacists may indicate patients’ verbal assent on the form by writing “COVID” in the patient signature block.

If blister packs are dispensed, pharmacists are urged to consider providing longer supplies (e.g., four weeks as opposed to one) for patients to minimize interactions.

Forms must be retained, and when feasible, patients must be asked to sign them. Alternately, pharmacists may contact the prescriber and request a new prescription with weekly or daily dispense indicated on the prescription.

Smoking Cessation Program Declaration and Notification form

As of April 17, 2020, a patient signature in the Patient Declaration section of the HLTH 5464 - Smoking Cessation Program Declaration and Notification form (PDF, 563KB) is temporarily suspended. Provided that there is verbal assent from a patient, pharmacists may indicate “COVID” in the patient signature block. Pharmacists should ensure that patients are aware of the contents of the declaration to which they are verbally assenting.

First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) aims to support continuity of treatment and immediate coverage for eligible benefit items. The Transitional Coverage Request (PDF, 651KB) (TCR) is a manual claim process that reimburses pharmacists for a one-time fill, allowing additional time for providers to address the coverage issue. The updated form has a checkbox to indicate whether the coverage issue is COVID-19 related and can support timely coverage to reduce gaps in care.

FNHA will reimburse pharmacists a $10 service fee in addition to the drug cost and dispensing fee (up to the PharmaCare maximum). This pharmacist’s fee also extends transitional coverage for medical supply and equipment items that are urgent and eligible for coverage. The following PIN will show on your payment statement from our partner Pacific Blue Cross: 3642005 – TCR payment.

Plan W provides the most comprehensive drug coverage for FNHA clients.  If an FNHA client does not have Plan W as their primary drug plan, then the pharmacist can submit a TCR with the client’s PHN, status number, date of birth and address, indicating that the client requires Plan W enrolment. In this scenario, FNHA will reimburse pharmacists a $10 service fee. The following PIN will show on your payment statement from Pacific Blue Cross: 3642006 – MSP enrolment payment.

For any questions about Transitional Coverage Requests, please contact FNHA at 1-855-550-5454.

BC Centre for Disease Control

BC Pharmacy Association

College of Pharmacists of British Columbia

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