Pharmacists in New Brunswick could soon be given more power to prescribe drugs. A bill tabled in the legislature would allow pharmacists to offer drug treatments for up to 30 minor ailments. 

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

“Pharmacists will have the authority to write those prescriptions for those treatments for those conditions,” says Sam Lanctin of the New Brunswick Pharmaceutical Society.

Conditions or ailments termed as ‘minor’ could be anything from medications for calluses and corns, to emergency contraception.

The society has been pushing for the change, which would affect 900 pharmacists across the province, for years.

Legislative changes made in 2010 allow a pharmacist in Nova Scotia to adjust, refill, or extend a prescription, as well as write prescriptions for some drugs. A similar setup also exists in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Many New Brunswick residents seem to support the change.

“You wouldn’t have to make an appointment to wait for the doctor to write a prescription,” says one Fredericton resident.

“You wouldn’t have to go to an emergency room,” says another.

New Brunswick Health Minister Ted Flemming says he hopes the change will help reduce wait times.

“If we have waiting lists in New Brunswick for people waiting to get a doctor and we take things out of the queue, which by necessity can be dealt with by a pharmacist, then what happens to the line? It shrinks,” says Flemming.

The proposed legislation could come into effect by summer.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Nick Moore