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Statement Regarding the Prescribing of Medications to Non-resident Patients Outside of Canada

As regulated healthcare professionals, physicians who prescribe medications have an important role to play in the availability of medications that Canadians need. Prescribing medications to non-residents outside of Canada can place a significant drain on the supply of medications available for patients in Canada.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons provides this statement regarding the expectations of our registrants when prescribing medications to non-resident patients outside of Canada.

  • Physicians must not enter into any arrangement to accommodate the business of exportation of medications outside of Canada. Such arrangements may be considered unethical and could amount to professional misconduct.
  • Physicians must not countersign a prescription issued by another prescriber without direct patient contact.
  • Physicians have the responsibility to comply with the laws of each province, state, and country to which they prescribe.
  • Physicians may be asked to co-sign a prescription in order to make it valid in their jurisdiction. Co-signing a prescription is an act of prescribing giving rise to all of the expectations and requirements when prescribing.

When prescribing medications physicians must:

  • only prescribe medications to patients after they have conducted an appropriate patient assessment; and
  • only prescribe medications within an established prescriber-patient relationship. In the absence of an established relationship with the patient, medications must not be prescribed for a patient solely on the basis of mailed or faxed information or an electronic questionnaire.

In addition to the above, physicians licensed in Nova Scotia are expected to adhere in full to the College’s Professional Standards and Guidelines Regarding Prescribing and Professional Standards Regarding Virtual Care.  

Dr. Gus Grant | Registrar & CEO
College of Physicians & Surgeons of Nova Scotia

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