B.C. Pharmacists can now prescribe contraception and many minor ailments

What is PPMAC?

Pharmacist Prescribing for Minor Ailments and Contraception (PPMAC) is a groundbreaking program in British Columbia that expands the role of pharmacists in primary care. Our trained pharmacists are now equipped to assess, diagnose, and prescribe medications for specific minor ailments and provide expert guidance on contraception options.

The Significance of PPMAC

PPMAC is a game-changer in healthcare accessibility, offering numerous advantages to the community:

  1. Enhanced Accessibility: PPMAC ensures that individuals can access prompt treatment and contraception options without needing a doctor's appointment.

  2. Convenience: Patients can consult with our knowledgeable pharmacists, often located conveniently in their neighbourhood, making it easier to address minor ailments and contraception needs.

  3. Reduced Healthcare Burden: By alleviating the demand for primary care physicians, PPMAC helps reduce wait times for doctor's appointments, benefiting both patients and the healthcare system.

  4. Comprehensive Care: Our pharmacy becomes a hub for a wide range of healthcare services, including minor ailment treatment and contraception counselling, ensuring holistic patient care.

Conditions Covered by PPMAC

Under the PPMAC program, our pharmacists can prescribe medications for various minor ailments, including but not limited to:

Minor ailments

 You can see a pharmacist to get assessed and treated for the following conditions:

  • Allergies (allergic rhinitis)
  • Cold sores
  • Fungal infections
  • Heartburn (acid reflux)
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Headaches
  • Impetigo
  • Indigestion (upset stomach)
  • Itching, including from bug bites
  • Menstrual pain
  • Mild acne
  • Nicotine dependence
  • Oral fungal infections (thrush)
  • Oral ulcers (canker sores)
  • Pink eye (conjunctivitis)
  • Shingles
  • Sprains and strains
  • Skin rash (dermatitis)
  • Threadworms or pinworms
  • Uncomplicated urinary tract infection
  • Vaginal candidiasis (yeast infection)


In addition, pharmacists can prescribe and provide many types of contraception, including the following, which are free in B.C.:

  • The pill
  • Copper intrauterine devices (IUDs)*
  • Hormonal IUDs*
  • An implant*
  • An injection (pharmacist can also administer)
  • Morning-after pill (no prescription or appointment needed)

*While the pharmacist can provide IUDs and implants, you will need to arrange a visit with a doctor or clinic for insertion.

How to Book an appointment to see a pharmacist

This service is free to every B.C. resident with a Personal Health Number when provided in person in a pharmacy.

Two simple steps before booking:

1. Use the self-assessment checklist to check your symptom(s).

2. If your symptoms match one of the minor ailments, or if you want to discuss contraception, contact us to make an appointment.


Self-assessment checklist

Allergies (allergic rhinitis)


All the below for more than 7 days:

  • Stuffy or runny nose (usually clear and watery)
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy nose, eyes, and/or throat

Read more about allergies at HealthLink BC.

  • Begins with itching, tingling, or burning sensation at the border of the lip. A cluster of fluid-filled, painful blisters soon appear, surrounded by redness Blisters then break, crust over, and usually heal within 7-10 days

Read more about cold sores at HealthLink BC.

(includes jock itch, athlete’s foot, ringworm, nail infection)

  • Jock itch: Large, round, red patches with bumpy or scaly, well-defined borders, usually on upper inner thigh or groin. May spread to inner leg toward buttocks or toward stomach/abdomen. Commonly itchy, burning
  • Athlete’s foot: Commonly occurs between toes but may occur on other areas of the feet. May be itchy, cracked or scaly, inflamed or blistered skin that burns and/or hurts
  • Ringworm: Small, round, red patch with well-defined bumpy or scaly border that usually occurs on neck, trunk or limbs. May feel itchy or burning
  • Nail infection: May occur in fingernails or toenails. Commonly, thickened, brittle nails starting at tip of nail and spreading to the whole nail with yellow/white or orange/brown-coloured vertical streaks. May have pain or discomfort

Read more about these conditions at HealthLink BC:

  • Burping, stomach acid rising from stomach into mouth
  • Burning feeling in the stomach or lower chest rising to the neck

Read more about heartburn at HealthLink BC.

  • Itching, burning, swelling (with or without pain), or presence of a lump around the anus/rectum, and/or
  • Bright red blood during/after a bowel movement (may be light spotting on toilet paper or drops of blood in toilet bowl)

Read more about hemorrhoids at HealthLink BC.

  • Pain, tightness and pressure on both sides of head and across forehead of mild to moderate intensity with no nausea or vomiting

Read more about headaches at HealthLink BC.

  • Small blisters on skin that ooze fluid, then dry to form yellow-brown crust
  • Usually appears around nose and mouth
  • May itch, but usually not painful

Read more about impetigo at HealthLink BC.

  • Heartburn, nausea, bloating, stomach discomfort, feeling full soon after eating, burping up food, stomach acid or gas

Read more about indigestion at HealthLink BC.

  • Small bumps or blisters that may be painful, itchy and/or swollen
  • May feel like a sharp burning pain or stinging

Read more about Dry skin and itching at HealthLink BC.

  • Pain and cramps in the lower abdomen (belly), and/or
  • Pain in the lower back that starts a few hours before a period

Read more about menstrual cramps at HealthLink BC.

  • Whiteheads and/or blackheads, or
  • Small red bumps and pimples filled with pus
  • Fewer than 30 bumps/pimples and not all inflamed (red/swollen)

Read more about acne at HealthLink BC.

Pharmacists can start you on a free 12-week course of nicotine patches, lozenges or gum. They can also prescribe the oral medications varenicline or bupropion, which you may have to pay for some or all of, depending on your PharmaCare coverage.

Meet with a pharmacist to get help quitting cigarettes or using other tobacco products.

Read more on how to quit smoking at HealthLink BC.

  • White or cream-white spots/patches on lips, inside mouth, on tongue and/or roof of mouth
  • Cottage cheese–like appearance
  • Patches can be scraped off
  • May experience dry mouth and/or loss of taste

Read more about thrush at HealthLink BC.

  • Small, shallow, painful, recurrent lesions on lining inside the mouth, cheek or on the tongue
  • Lesions usually have red border with white or yellow centre

Read more about canker sores at HealthLink BC.

  • Red eye(s) plus discharge that is watery and mucus-like, or that is thick and white, yellow or green, and/or
  • Scratchy, burning, itching or the feeling that something is in the eye

Read more about pink eye at HealthLink BC.

  • Painful, blistering rash on one side of body, and
  • Pain, burning, tingling or numbness around affected area 1-5 days before rash appears
  • Discomfort, muscle pain, headaches

Read more about shingles at HealthLink BC.

Includes diaper rash and seborrheic, contact, allergic, and atopic dermatitis. Symptoms may include one or more of the following:

  • Dry, red and itchy skin
  • Cracked and oozing blisters
  • Scaly and patchy skin

Read more about eczema and allergic reaction at HealthLink BC.

Symptoms may include:

  • Pain, swelling or tenderness (mild to medium severity)
  • Redness or bruising
  • Limited range of motion with muscle weakness
  • Injury associated with overworking or straining

Read more about ankle sprain at HealthLink BC.

  • Itchy anus and belly pain are common, although some people have no symptoms

Read more about pinworms at HealthLink BC.

  • Frequent urination, pain while urinating, and difficulty holding in urine
  • Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
  • If you are pregnant or male, please visit a doctor or nurse practitioner

Read more about this condition at HealthLink BC:

  • Vaginal itch, irritation and redness with white, cottage cheese–like discharge

Read more about vaginal yeast infection at HealthLink BC.

Pharmacists can prescribe and dispense contraceptives. Many contraceptives are free for B.C. residents (the pill, IUDs, implant, injection, morning-after pill)

Visit HealthLink BC for more information on birth control.


At Coal Harbour Pharmacy, we are dedicated to improving healthcare accessibility and ensuring that our community receives the care they deserve. The Pharmacist Prescribing for Minor Ailments and Contraception (PPMAC) program represents a significant leap in achieving this goal. By leveraging the expertise of our skilled pharmacists, PPMAC ensures that individuals in British Columbia can access timely treatment for minor ailments and expert guidance on contraception options with ease and convenience. PPMAC not only benefits patients but also contributes to a more efficient and responsive healthcare system in British Columbia. For relief when you need it, contact us today at Coal Harbour pharmacy.