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Pharmacies Distribute Rapid Antigen Test Kits to Support Small and Medium-Sized Businesses to Operate Safely

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Rapid testing is key to responding to COVID-19

Leading discussions with the Government of Canada and collaborating with pharmacy and distribution channel partners, the Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada (Neighbourhood Pharmacies) promotes economic recovery and healthy communities by supporting the distribution of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests through pharmacies to small and medium-sized businesses. Currently, pharmacies in Ontario, Alberta and Manitoba are participating – with a view to expanding to other provinces.

“Pharmacies are pleased to partner with Health Canada and support economic recovery by increasing the availability of free, rapid COVID-19 test kits for small to medium-sized businesses,” says Sandra Hanna, CEO of Neighbourhood Pharmacies. “Pharmacies are instrumental to supporting the health and safety of their communities, so we are pleased to be doing our part to facilitate regular workplace screening, helping to keep businesses and communities up and running safely.”

This initiative is a clear example of how pharmacies, as an essential service, alleviate stress on local health systems and continue stepping up to advance an increasingly flexible response to the pandemic.

Rapid testing is a cornerstone of responding to the COVID-19 crisis. With 11,000 community pharmacies located throughout the country, pharmacies are a logical place to distribute rapid tests. Distributing to local small and medium-sized businesses through community pharmacy means rapid COVID-19 test kits will be made available in an accessible, equitable way.

Pharmacies that would like to distribute rapid test kits can register on the Government of Canada’s Pharmacy Rapid-Test Distribution Portal.

Registration for small and medium-sized businesses in Ontario, Manitoba, and Alberta to participate in the program is expected in mid-August. Like pharmacies, businesses will register using a similar online portal. Health Canada will make a list of participating pharmacies available to businesses upon their registration. Businesses will pick up their rapid test kits from a participating pharmacy of their choice.

Neighbourhood Pharmacies has worked with the Government of Canada, as well as pharmacy and distribution partners, to develop resources to support pharmacies’ participation in the program, including:

  • Pharmacy “How To” Information Guide  – outlines the operational flow of the program, which includes information on pharmacies’ responsibilities, how to order test kits, and reporting requirements for the distribution of tests to businesses.
  •  Rapid Tests Training Documentto be used by pharmacies in training businesses on the functionality of the rapid antigen tests.

If you are a small to medium-sized organization interested in receiving rapid antigen test kits to implement workplace screening of close-contact employees, please visit the Government of Canada website for more information on program eligibility, reporting requirements and registration. 

The Neighbourhood Pharmacies website also provides updated information related to the    Pharmacy Test Kit Distribution program

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