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Summer On Call – Designated Drugs Regulation Update

July 17, 2020

Note: This article was originally published in our Summer 2020 edition of our On Call newsletter, and has not been updated.

As you know, the College has been working with the Ministry of Health to make changes to its Designated Drugs Regulation since 2004. You can read more about these proposed amendments here. In the fall of 2019, the College held a consultation with members, stakeholders and members of the public on the proposed changes to the regulation. In December, the College submitted the proposed regulation to the Ministry before their December 31, 2019, deadline. We thank everyone who provided feedback on the proposed changes and the College will provide a response to the feedback received in the coming weeks. The regulation is currently posted on Ontario’s Regulatory Registry until July 27, 2020.

One of the changes in the proposed regulation is that midwives will have the authority to prescribe and administer controlled drugs and substances for clinical conditions that are in midwives’ scope of practice. While there are very few indications that would require prescribing and administering controlled drugs and substances, there are benefits and potential risks to midwives prescribing these medications on their own authority. Because of the possible risks (including abuse, misuse and diversion), all midwives currently registered in Ontario and midwifery applicants will be required to undertake a College approved mandatory training in prescribing and administering opioids and benzodiazepines.

In advance of the proposed changes to the regulation coming into effect the College’s Council approved the mandatory course on prescribing controlled drugs and substances for midwives at the March 2020 meeting. Opioids and Benzodiazepines: Safe Prescribing for Midwives is an online course offered by the University of British Columbia. The course is made up of 16 chapters, nine cases studies and a final exam.

The College will provide members with more information about when they must complete this course at a later date. To read the minutes from the March Council meeting, please click here.