April 2015 – Preliminary research on Ontario’s publicly funded Pharmacy Smoking Cessation Program paints an interesting picture on possible factors influencing uptake and outcomes so far. For example, participation rates by pharmacies ranged from less than one in five in one region of Ontario to an impressive 66% of all pharmacies in another region.
The Ontario Pharmacy Research Collaboration (OPEN) used government data to analyze uptake of the program in its first two years after launch in September 2011. Available to beneficiaries of Ontario’s public drug benefits, the data revealed that more than 7,700 Ontarians had used the service, of whom 72% were receiving social assistance and 28% were seniors.
Perhaps the most remarkable finding was that 66% of pharmacies in the Erie St. Clair region of Ontario were participating in the program, compared with the provincial average of 34% and less than one in five in Mississauga Halton and other regions of central Ontario. After interviewing pharmacists in Erie St. Clair, researchers determined that pre-existing smoking cessation programs, initiated by the automotive industry, enabled pharmacists to more easily incorporate the government’s program into service offerings.
“This finding underscores the importance of having training and support in place for pharmacists and pharmacies before new programs are rolled out,” said Dr. Suzanne Cadarette, project lead, in OPEN’s website article.
In Manitoba, meanwhile, researchers are pulling together results from a provincial smoking cessation pilot program that is partly funded by the Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy. The project is a joint effort between the Manitoba Society of Pharmacists, the Manitoba College of Pharmacists, the University of Manitoba and the provincial government.