11/15/2011 05:41 EST | Updated 01/15/2012 05:12 EST

Quebec Pharmacists Get New Powers

QUEBEC - Quebec is giving pharmacists more prescription-filling power in an attempt to relieve a bottleneck in doctors' offices and clinics.

Pharmacists would now be allowed to refill prescriptions for minor health problems without making the patients go back to see their doctors.

The pharmacists will still not be allowed to diagnose any patients — but they can renew prescriptions as long as a doctor has already treated the sick person and given them a prescription.

Besides extending a prescription, they can also adjust it and prescribe medication when no diagnosis is required.

Among the problems that can be resolved by the pharmacist are cold sores, seasonal allergies, urinary tract infections, traveler's diarrhea and nausea in pregnant women.

The bill was crafted with the help of the pharmacists and physicians' professional orders. Tabled by Health Minister Yves Bolduc, the legislation is expected to pass quickly.