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Assisted death leftover drugs now returnable for re-use

Change only for duration of pandemic, says ministerial order
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Unused assisted death drugs can be returned to pharmacies in order to be given to others in the event of a shortage of such drugs during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new B.C. ministerial order says.

An amendment to College of Pharmacists of B.C. bylaws “allow return to inventory, injectable drugs previously dispensed for the purpose of providing medical assistance in dying,” said Ministerial Order 140, signed by minister of health delegate Brian Westgate.

The order specifies that “if there is a shortage of medication for medical assistance in dying, a pharmacist may accept for return to inventory, injectable medication previously dispensed for the purpose of providing medical assistance in dying” if certain criteria are met. On receipt of such medication, a pharmacist must contact the prescribing physician or nurse practitioner within 72 hours of the scheduled date and time of death to corroborate the drug information.

“The full pharmacist must review the medication administration record for reconciliation of returned medications,” the order said.

The pharmacists receiving the unused drugs must ensure the medication has not left the possession of the prescribing practitioner, or assigned medical professional so the medication’s integrity of the can be verified; that each dose is unused and in the original sealed tamper proof kit and the medication has been maintained in accordance with the manufacturer's requirements.