The Ontario College of Pharmacy recently announced the amended Pharmacy Act in Dec 2016, allowing pharmacists to administer selected vaccines, particularly ones that are related to the prevention of communicable diseases as well as travel vaccines. Pharmacists have been administering flu vaccines for few years now and this is only part of the expanded scope of practice that the profession is embracing. It is an exciting part for the profession to learn new responsibilities and to address public needs on a different level.
However, I was surprised to hear on the radio this morning, an advertisement from a local travel clinic, run by physicians and nurses, advising the public not to get their travel vaccines from the pharmacies. Their travel clinic, which is run by doctors and nurses, claims to have more knowledge and experience and the public should not leave their travel needs to convenience.
I was shocked to hear such advertisement from health professionals. Yes, we are starting to overlap in what we are allowed to do. Particularly in travel medicine which is a lucrative business, there is a potential threat to your established business and practice. You can and should advertise your clinic to have the experience and knowledge to do your job well but by going out of your way to downgrade another professional in your ad, in fact, discredit your own clinic. The ad sounded rather defensive than having a promotional effect. It is true that the public can choose who they want to go to. If you do a great job, people will come back to you if the price is reasonable. Pharmacists also go through additional training to learn about travel medicines. We are all here to address needs of the public, in whatever capacity we are able to. Let’s be respectful, even in your ad.