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Changes to Food and Drugs Act related to drug samples

Jul 27, 2020

Effective July 1st, 2020, the Food and Drugs Act and associated regulations were amended to permit the distribution of certain drugs and natural health products as samples by pharmaceutical companies to a "practitioner". "Practitioner" is now defined as someone who is authorized to prescribe medications in a given province, rather than a specific profession.

This means that drug samples may be provided directly from pharmaceutical companies to prescribers in B.C. Any nurse (LPN, NP, RN, RPN) can handle sample medications; however, only prescribers are permitted to receive samples from pharmaceutical companies. Any nurse with prescribing authority who is approached by a pharmaceutical company should contact their employer and follow their organizational policies.

Nurses are encouraged to review and be mindful of the Conflict of Interest practice standard and relevant BCCNP Bylaws regarding marketing. If you have questions, contact BCCNP Practice Support . You may also wish to consult the guidance document developed by Health Canada, this more detailed summary of changes to the federal regulations, and/or contact the Canadian Nurses Protective Society.