12/20/2013 04:04 EST | Updated 02/19/2014 05:59 EST

Manitoba government gives pharmacists OK to prescribe drugs, give vaccines

WINNIPEG - Manitobans will be able to see pharmacists for some of their health-care needs under a law that comes into effect in the new year.

Health Minister Erin Selby says this will allow pharmacists to play a greater role in supporting the health and well-being of people while improving accountability and enhancing patient safety.

Under the new act, pharmacists will be able to prescribe and administer certain drugs under limited conditions.

Pharmacists who undergo additional training will be able to issue prescriptions for minor ailments such as acne, athlete's foot and smoking cessation.

They will also be able to give vaccines such as influenza, pertussis and human papilloma virus to children seven years of age and over and adults.

Pharmacist can also issue short-term refill prescriptions for people with chronic conditions until the person can see their doctor, and prescribe and demonstrate how to use medical devices such as inhalers used to control asthma.

"Pharmacies are located throughout the province, in both larger urban settings and the many smaller rural communities, which allows for this new legislation to enable pharmacists to use their drug therapy expertise to benefit all Manitobans," Kyle MacNair, president of the Manitoba Pharmaceutical Association, said in a news release.

Under the new act, pharmacy technicians will also be required to meet education and training requirements consistent with requirements implemented in other provinces.