Have you ever had a urinary tract infection (UTI) and been unable to be seen by a health care provider for days or weeks?
Have you ever needed birth control and not had the resources to obtain it? You are not alone if you have found yourself in either of these situations.
The cost of UTIs
These are crucial services that all New Brunswickers need access to. The Government of New Brunswick (GNB) announced that they will now pay the fee for pharmacists to prescribe treatments for UTIs as well as birth control for New Brunswickers.
Although pharmacists prescribing antibiotics for UTIs is not new, as of the fall of 2021, the GNB started covering the fees for this service for New Brunswick residents under the age of 65.
Previously, the fee for this minor ailment assessment cost around 25 dollars (varying depending on the pharmacy).
For university students every dollar counts. With the cost of living being at an all-time high and the recent termination of the New Brunswick EI Connect program, a 25 dollar fee could be enough to make someone wait to seek treatment.
Before this announcement, many would have sought care in the emergency room. This is not an option at this time, as hospitals are critically understaffed with extreme wait times.
Seeking UTI treatment
A pharmacist’s assessment is a great option and has few eligibility requirements.
To be eligible, you must be a New Brunswick Resident, be of the female biological sex, have a valid medicare card, and have had a UTI before.
Some red flag symptoms that would require care from a physician include blood in the urine, flank pain (back pain), being pregnant/breastfeeding, fever, and vomiting. The assessment can be obtained by calling the pharmacy of choice or asking the pharmacist about a UTI assessment if you are present in the pharmacy.
If eligible, you will receive a prescription that same day. It is important to note that the government does not cover the cost of the prescription itself, only the cost of the fee. Eligible New Brunswickers will have two assessment fees covered per 365-day period.
Birth control prescriptions
On March 17, 2022, New Brunswick pharmacists approved prescribing birth control. Furthermore, as of June 6, 2022, the government started to cover the fee for pharmacists to prescribe birth control.
Pharmacists may prescribe for the contraceptive pill, as well as the vaginal ring and Depo-Provera injection. They can prescribe contraceptives to individuals who have previously used contraceptives, as well as individuals who have never used contraceptives before.
If you are between the age of 12 and 50, have a valid medicare card, are a New Brunswick resident, do not reside in a nursing home, are not pregnant, breastfeeding or within six weeks post-partum, and are not experiencing unusual menstrual changes you are eligible for this service.
The assessment for this service can be obtained in the same steps as the UTI assessment. New Brunswickers will be covered for three assessment fees per 365-day period.
With the critical condition of our emergency rooms and the thousands of New Brunswickers without a family physician, the introduction of this program by the government of New Brunswick will relieve stress to many and give people the care they need when they need it.