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June 19, 2015

Pharmacists can prescribe drugs for minor health problems

Your family pharmacists are authorized to perform certain tasks in order to improve front-line care. For instance, they can prescribe drugs to treat a number of minor health problems when the diagnosis and treatment have already been established.

Here is the list of 12 ailments1 for which your pharmacist can issue a prescription: 

Skin Problems

  • Mild acne
  • Atopic dermatitis (eczema) requiring use of low-to-moderate potency corticosteroids
  • Diaper rash in newborns


  • Cold sores (oral herpes)
  • Thrush following use of corticosteroid inhaler (pumps for respiratory problems)

Ear, Nose and Throat

  • Allergic conjunctivitis
  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Mouth ulcers

Women’s Health

  • Dysmenorrhea (painful menstruations)
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Vaginal yeast infections


  • Hemorrhoids

1 Ailment: Change in state of health, disease. Also called a minor condition.

However, your pharmacist will only be able to help you under the following circumstances:

  • Your ailment has already been diagnosed by a doctor or assessed by a specialized nurse practitioner and you have received a prescription for it in the past. 
  • Your last prescribed treatment was less than four years ago for the ailments listed, except primary dysmenorrhea and hemorrhoids (less than two years) and urinary tract infections in women (less than twelve months).
  • If you are a woman and have been treated three times in the last year for a urinary tract infection, you will not be able to receive a prescription from your pharmacist for this ailment. 
  • Your symptoms must enable the pharmacist to clearly identify your ailment.

If all these conditions are met, your pharmacist can prescribe a medication of equal or lower strength than the one originally given to you by your doctor.

Please note that you may need to book an appointment to avail yourself of this service. Ask a member of the pharmacy team for more information. Some Uniprix-affiliated pharmacies offer an online appointment booking service. Click here to find the nearest sales location offering this service. 

Finally, pharmacists cannot prescribe any medications when certain warning signs are present, including symptoms that:  

  • Persist or recur once the prescribed treatment is over 
  • Signal the presence of an undiagnosed illness
  • Point to a decline or change in the function of an organ
  • Indicate an unusual reaction to a medication

Case examples

Case #1: Vincent has another painful cold sore. Last year, the doctor prescribed a medication for the same problem, but the prescription has now expired. Vincent will not have the chance to see a doctor in the near future. 

Solution: Since Vincent has already received a diagnosis and a prescription from a doctor less than four years ago, the pharmacist can prescribe the same treatment. 

Case #2: Allison thinks she may have a urinary tract infection. Her symptoms are similar to those she experienced two years ago when a doctor confirmed this diagnosis. She would like to obtain the same medication she took last time, so she goes to her pharmacy.

Solution: The pharmacist cannot prescribe the medication since her last treatment goes back more than twelve months. Allison must consult her doctor. 

Pharmacy services

Your family pharmacists are accessible health professionals able to offer you a wide range of services. Talk to them! They are here for you!   

*Certain conditions must be respected. Fees may apply. Ask a member of the pharmacy team for more information. Pharmacists alone are responsible for the practice of pharmacy. They offer related services only on behalf of pharmacist-owners.

Services in pharmacy are the sole responsibility of pharmacist-owners. Only pharmacists are responsible for pharmacy practice. They only provide related services acting under a pharmacist-owner's name.

The Website deals with health-related topics. The information presented has been validated by experts and is accurate at the time of posting. In no way does it replace the opinion of a health care professional. Uniprix Inc. and its affiliated pharmacists accept no liability whatsoever in connection with the information provided on this Website.