03/18/2014 04:07 EDT | Updated 05/18/2014 05:59 EDT

New bill would give greater role for pharmacists in New Brunswick

FREDERICTON - New Brunswick's health minister is backing a private member's bill that would allow pharmacists to write prescriptions for some minor ailments.

Hugh Flemming says the changes make sense and would help shorten the line of people waiting to see doctors.

Progressive Conservative backbencher Ryan Riordon introduced the bill to change the Pharmacy Act on Tuesday.

Sam Lanctin, registrar of the New Brunswick Pharmaceutical Society, says the law hasn't been updated since 2008 and changes are needed to allow pharmacists to better meet the needs of patients.

Lanctin says pharmacists would be able to write prescriptions for such things as hay fever, muscle pain and nausea if the bill is passed in the legislature.

Pharmacists in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nova Scotia already have the authority to write prescriptions for minor ailments.