Spread the Word: Local Pharmacies Now a One-Stop-Shop for Thirteen Common Ailments

Highly trained pharmacists able to prescribe for common ailments with no cost for the visit

Medical person by Alexandr Podvalny

Ontario is making it more convenient for people to connect to care closer to home by launching pharmacist prescribing for some of the most common medical ailments.

As of January 1, 2023, Ontarians will be able to stop in at pharmacies across the province to receive prescriptions for thirteen common ailments, including rashes, pink eye, insect bites and urinary tract infections with just their health card. This service makes it more convenient to access care by removing a doctor’s office visit and will come at no extra cost to Ontarians.

“Stopping by your local pharmacy for quick and easy access to treatment for some of your most common ailments increases your access to the care you need closer to home,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Expanding the ability of pharmacists to provide care is one more way we’re putting people at the centre of our health care system, making it easier, faster and more convenient to access health care in their community.”

Pharmacists will be able to offer prescriptions for:

  • hay fever (allergic rhinitis);
  • oral thrush (candidal stomatitis);
  • pink eye (conjunctivitis; bacterial, allergic and viral);
  • dermatitis (atopic, eczema, allergic and contact);
  • menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea);
  • acid reflux (gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD));
  • hemorrhoids;
  • cold sores (herpes labialis);
  • impetigo;
  • insect bites and hives;
  • tick bites (post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent Lyme disease);
  • sprains and strains (musculoskeletal); and
  • urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Allowing pharmacists to prescribe for these common ailments will make it more convenient for Ontarians to receive the care they need, while offering patients more convenient choices for how they access and receive health care. With a large, provincewide footprint, pharmacist prescribing will help to increase access to care in rural parts of Ontario.

In addition to providing more convenience, pharmacy prescribing will also help free-up doctors’ bandwidth to provide care for more complex needs, helping to reduce wait times for these services.

Quick Facts

  • A common ailment is a health condition that can be reliably self-diagnosed and managed with self-care strategies and/or minimal treatment.
  • Anyone with symptoms should contact their local pharmacist to confirm whether they provide prescribing services for certain common ailments before visiting the pharmacy.
  • This change builds on pharmacists’ current knowledge, skills and judgement to recommend over-the-counter medications and allows physicians to focus on the more complex health care needs of their patients.
  • These changes are being made in partnership with the Ontario College of Pharmacists.
  • Ontarians can now also visit local pharmacies for Paxlovid prescriptions. Visit ontario.ca/antivirals for more information on eligibility and to find local pharmacies that are dispensing Paxlovid.


“Empowering pharmacists to use their expertise to assess and treat minor ailments helps patients get the care they need sooner and closer to home – but the benefits go much further,” says Justin Bates, CEO, Ontario Pharmacists Association. “It reduces demand on hospitals, emergency departments, walk-in clinics and family physicians. It also frees up time for our healthcare partners, allowing doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers to focus on more complex care cases.”

– Justin Bates
CEO of Ontario Pharmacists Association

“Shoppers Drug Mart applauds the Ontario government for helping make it easier for patients to access health care right in their own communities. With over 800 locations across the province, our pharmacy teams stand ready to help provide this service at no cost to Ontarians.”

– Jeff Leger
President of Shoppers Drug Mart

“Our Rexall pharmacies and pharmacists are proud to call hundreds of communities across Ontario home. We know that pharmacists are critical to the delivery of accessible healthcare in the province, and we are excited to be able to assess and prescribe the necessary medication for the 13 identified minor ailments. We’re pleased that all our Rexall stores in Ontario will be participating and continue to be part of the solution to help a strained healthcare system, for the benefit of the people in Ontario.”

– Nicolas Caprio
President of Rexall Pharmacy Group

“McKesson Canada applauds the Ontario government for supporting minor ailment prescribing services for pharmacists and making health care more accessible and efficient in our province. Our independent pharmacists at Guardian, I.D.A., Remedy’sRx and The Medicine Shoppe have a long history of assisting patients in communities across the province. We look forward to working with the government to help provide greater convenience and choice to patients obtain quality health-care services where they need them the most.”

– Smita Patil
Vice President Retail Member Relations and Professional Affairs at McKesson Canada

Source: Ministry of Health