Your Pharmacist Can...

Assess and Treat Minor Ailments
Assess and Treat Minor Ailments

Got a minor health condition that needs attention from a healthcare professional?

Why wait at an emergency room or after-hours clinic when your pharmacist may be able to help?

New Brunswick pharmacists can assess, treat and if necessary, prescribe for certain minor ailments like cold sores, uncomplicated urinary tract infections and allergies.

Just ask your pharmacist for details.

What is a Minor Ailment?

A minor ailment is a less serious medical condition that does not require lab or blood tests. Minor ailments are usually short-term conditions that can be managed with minimal treatment and/or self-care strategies. They can be managed by your pharmacist at the pharmacy.

A minor ailment can be treated with:

  • “At-home” or self-care treatments
  • Over-the-counter medication treatments
  • Prescription medications

The following are Minor Ailments that New Brunswick pharmacists can assess and prescribe for:

  • Allergic Rhinitis (hay fever)
  • Calluses and Corns
  • Conjunctivitis (allergic and bacterial)
  • Contact Allergic Dermatitis (allergic skin rash)
  • Dandruff
  • Dysmenorrhea (pre-menstrual and menstrual pain)
  • Dyspepsia (indigestion)
  • Emergency Contraception
  • Fungal Infections of the Skin
  • Gastro-esophageal Reflux (heartburn) Disease
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Herpes Simplex (cold sores)
  • Herpes Zoster (shingles)
  • Impetigo
  • Mild Acne
  • Mild Headache
  • Mild to Moderate Eczema
  • Mild Urticaria (hives, bug bites and stings)
  • Minor Joint Pain
  • Minor Muscle Pain
  • Minor Sleep Disorders
  • Nausea
  • Nicotine dependence
  • Non-infectious Diarrhea
  • Oral Fungal Infection (thrush)
  • Oral Ulcers (canker sores)
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
  • Threadworms and Pinworms
  • Upper respiratory tract conditions (cough, nasal congestion and discharge, sore throat, fever, malaise)
  • Urinary Tract Infection (uncomplicated)
  • Vaginal Candidiasis (yeast infection)
  • Warts (excluding facial and genital)
  • Xerophthalmia (dry eyes) (2021) (2022) (2023)

Pharmacists may also prescribe vaccines and/or drug products for preventable conditions, including: 

  • Lyme Disease
  • Meningococcal disease
  • Pneumococcal disease
  • Pregnancy (ie. prescribe birth control)
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
  • Varicella zoster (chickenpox)

What happens during an assessment?

  • The pharmacist will explain the process and obtain your consent to complete an assessment.
  • You may meet with the pharmacist in a private counselling room, usually next to the pharmacy.
    • Some pharmacies may require an appointment.
  • The pharmacist will have a detailed discussion with you to assess your ailment.
  • The pharmacist will ask what medical conditions you have, what medications you take, what kind of symptoms you are having, and how long have you had them.
  • At this point, the pharmacist may make a recommendation for an over-the-counter medication or a prescription medication or may determine that no treatment is required.
  • If the pharmacist believes your condition is more serious, he or she will refer you to a doctor.

What happens after the assessment?

  • If the pharmacist prescribes a medication during the assessment, he or she will prepare your prescription or you can take the prescription to another pharmacy to be filled.
  • The pharmacist then notifies your doctor for his or her records.
  • If you do not have a doctor, the pharmacist will give you a copy of the doctor’s notice to keep until you have a doctor.
  • The pharmacist may call you a few days later to see how you feel. Depending on how you are doing, the pharmacist will tell you to continue your treatment or he or she will make a different recommendation, or tell you if you need to see your doctor.

Do all pharmacies in New Brunswick offer minor ailment assessment and prescribing services?

Most, but not all, pharmacies in New Brunswick provide minor ailment assessment and prescribing services. Some pharmacies provide minor ailment assessment and prescribing services for only some of the conditions on the list. Ask your pharmacist for details.

Will I need to pay to have a minor ailment assessed?

Yes. There is a fee for the assessment, whether or not the pharmacist prescribes a medication. Fees vary by pharmacy. Your Health Service Plan may help cover the cost. Ask your pharmacist for details.

The following services are an exception, as the Department of Health offers them to eligible residents of New Brunswick (ie. services covered by Medicare):

Will my drug plan pay for prescriptions written by pharmacists?

  • Prescriptions written by a pharmacist are paid for by both provincial and private drug plans.