08/29/2013 04:45 EDT | Updated 10/29/2013 05:12 EDT

Quebec postpones pharmacists' expanded role

The Quebec government is postponing the start date for its law giving pharmacists new powers, after failing to reach a deal over the payment of fees for the new services they will offer.

The legislation authorizing an expanded role for Quebec pharmacists was set to take effect on Sept. 3.

In a statement released this afternoon, Health Minister Réjean Hébert said postponing that date will give negotiators for the government and the pharmacists time to reach an agreement satisfactory to all parties "respecting the government's capacity to pay."

The new services include extending and adjusting prescriptions, prescribing medication for mild conditions when the diagnosis is known and several other measures.

"The addition of these new acts remains a way to ensure better access to frontline health care," Hébert said in a statement. "I would have preferred to have them in place by Sept. 3, as planned, however a postponement can't be avoided under the circumstances."

Hébert said the decision will have no impact on services such as tests already offered by pharmacists.