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  • Writer's pictureRachelle Smerhy

How Canadian Pharmacies are Getting Help with Narcotic Reconciliation

Updated: Jun 8, 2020

We've come a long way since Health Canada mandated narcotics reconciliation in pharmacies. In 2015, the National Anti-Drug Strategy expanded to include prescription drugs. As a result, the Community Pharmacy Inspection Program was born. For many pharmacies it brought narcotics handling processes to the forefront for a hasty and sometimes stressful review.

Health Canada's objectives for the program were simple: • To promote and ensure compliance by pharmacy professionals • To increase communication between Health Canada and the pharmacy community • To contribute to the monitoring and control of our national opioid crisis At the heart of it, the objectives are more than reasonable. Canada's opioid crisis is reaching unthinkable new heights. In 2016, opioids claimed the lives of more than 2800 Canadians. Let's put that in perspective. That's more than the 1764 Canadians who died of HIV in 1995 at the height of the HIV epidemic. Statistics show we may exceed that number in 2018. During the first quarter alone, the government reported 'at least' 1036 opioid-related deaths. Of that number, 94% were unintentional. Describing the epidemic as a 'crisis' at this point seems almost inadequate. It's a national catastrophe and it's wreaking havoc in the lives of Canadians from all over the country. It's also putting unprecedented stress on the healthcare system. It's a fight we must all take on together, pharmacies included. Yet with the announcement of random compliance promotion inspections, the pressure was on.

Narcotics Reconciliation Requirements

It's understood that as healthcare professionals, pharmacists want to comply. People who dedicate their entire careers to the health of others care. But pharmacy life is nothing if not challenging. Keeping up on industry changes and new regulations. Patient care initiatives. Pharmacists and pharmacy managers do countless things in a day. It can all take significant time. Depending on the size of the pharmacy, the challenges are different. In large pharmacies and chains there are all the usual logistical issues. Managing a large staff, keeping communication open, the list goes on. Internal communication alone is an industry-wide issue that keeps managers in many larger pharmacies reeling. And for smaller, independent pharmacies the pressure to keep up can be enormous. With a small team and long hours, the need for staying current with industry requirements doesn't change. Nor does the need for implementing new technology and patient initiatives. Or keeping up on compliance. Not to mention the potential to fill hundreds of prescriptions per day, depending on size. Yet narcotics reconciliation requirements specify that pharmacies must adhere to strict regulations, including: • Complete a full reconciliation every 3-6 months, dependent on province • Account for all narcotics and ensure inventory is accurate • Implement security measures to ensure minimal diversion • Identify and remove all out-of-date inventory • Adhere to strict process and reporting of all destroyed drugs For the busy pharmacy owner or manager, compliance can a challenge. Yet Health Canada inspectors can come knocking on short notice. And when that happens, failure to comply can lead to issues.

iApotheca Helps with Narcotics Reconciliation

iApotheca Healthcare is an industry authority in narcotic reconciliation. With the release of our Narcotics Reconciliation Module in 2015, we've been there from the start. Our team understands the challenges. We've helped over a thousand pharmacies across Canada complete fast and accurate reconciliations. How do we do it? With a combination of great software and our belief in educating our customers. When you sign up, our team will reach out to ensure you have everything you need to get started. iApotheca offers a growing bank of training tools designed to make reconciliations easy. Have questions or challenges? Our support team is available Monday to Friday to help. At iApotheca, we understand the problems pharmacists face with reconciliations. Our expert advice and dedication to service means you need never face another reconciliation alone. Want to know more about how iApotheca can help ease narcotics reconciliation stress? Contact us today at 1-800-209-6052!

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