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Federal COVID rapid test program for small and medium companies now open for sign-up


The Canadian government has opened its registration portal for pharmacists in Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario interested in distributing COVID-19 rapid test kits for small- and mid-sized businesses.

“We can’t stress enough the importance of a national testing strategy as COVID continues to evolve, so people can feel confident returning to work,” said Joelle Walker, vice president, public affairs and professional affairs at the Canadian Pharmacists Association, which has been working closely with Health Canada to make these test kits available in pharmacies. “Pharmacists have a key role to play in this strategy.”

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Through this new program, small and medium-sized organizations with 10 to 199 employees in Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario can order test kits from registered pharmacists in their community.

The kits, each containing 25 tests, will be supplied free of charge to pharmacies through distributors enrolled in the program. Pharmacies will be allowed to charge a training and handling fee of up to $14 per kit. Of this total, $4 per kit goes to the distributor. 

The registration portal for pharmacies went live on Monday, July 19, and more information about the program has been posted on the CPhA website. Walker said the ordering portal for small and mid-sized businesses will likely launch in early August.

“We’re encouraging pharmacists to register over the next two weeks, although there’s no registration deadline,” said Walker. “At this point, we’re trying to get a sense of how pharmacies will be involved in the program.”

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