PharmaNet is a province-wide computerized system for recording all your prescriptions. It holds the record of all prescriptions dispensed from community pharmacies in BC as well as prescriptions dispensed from hospital outpatient pharmacies for patient use at home.
Each time a prescription is filled, a drug interaction check is done, and a claim is sent to PharmaCare to determine how much the patient must pay and how much is covered by PharmaCare.
Hospital emergency departments, mental health facilities, the nurses at HealthLink BC, and even some doctor’s medical practices can use PharmaNet to see what drugs the patient is taking, and to record medications provided to a patient. Click here for information about hospital access to Pharmanet.
If you want to, you can check your PharmaNet record from time to time to make sure that it is correct. For information on how to request a copy of your record scroll down this page to the section titled Checking Your Own Pharmanet Record.
To find out who can see Pharmanet information and how to limit access by others to your Pharmanet information, scroll down this page to those sections.
The province of BC is currently upgrading the existing PharmaNet system and planning to connect it with B.C.’s electronic health record as it is built and comes online. The project is called eDrug or Pharmanet-eRx.
For general information from the government about PharmaNet go here.
Or look at the College of Pharmacists PharmaNet page.
Or call: PharmaNet 1-604-683-7151 (Lower Mainland only) Help Desk at: 1-800-663-7100
Who Can See PharmaNet Information?
Pharmanet is an open system. This means that the individuals who have been given the technical ability to log onto the system can see any information that is on the system unless it is specifically “locked”.
Only those pharmacists who need to see your file in order to give you pharmacy services should look at it. In other cases, only the information that is necessary for the particular purpose should be viewed (for example for emergency, or for your own doctor when providing you health care and treatment, or for pharmacist disciplinary or audit purposes).
A number of privacy polices and procedures are required to protect the confidentiality of PharmaNet information. For example, security measures in PharmaNet include the use of firewalls and encryption, and everyone who has access to PharmaNet must sign confidentiality agreements.
Also, PharmaNet keeps a log of every time a record is looked at.
However, because the system is open, at least parts of your record on PharmaNet can be viewed by:
all pharmacists in the province;
staff at pharmacies who work with the pharmacists and have signed confidentiality agreements;
hospital emergency departments, which can view and update your medication history;
doctors in private practice, clinics and hospitals, who can request medication records of their patients;
the College of Pharmacists, which has responsibility for managing the part of PharmaNet that holds medication histories;
the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C., which has access in order to monitor the prescribing patterns of doctors;
the Ministry of Health and Health Insurance BC, which have access to payment information but not to medication histories.
For more information about confidentiality requirements for PharmaNet, go here.
For more information on who gets access to PharmaNet and what the rules are for access, click here.
The BC Civil Liberties Association has some information about Pharmanet here.
Checking your own PharmaNet Record
Your pharmacist cannot print you a record from the PharmaNet system. You have to make a request to your pharmacist and the pharmacist will forward the request to the College of Pharmacists of BC, who will mail your PharmaNet record directly to you.
You have to show government-issued identification to request your PharmaNet record. Make sure the pharmacist confirms your current address is in the system, so your record is mailed to the correct address.
Your Patient Record will include your name and address, all medications dispensed to you by any pharmacy in the previous 14 months, and a log of every time your Patient Record was viewed by pharmacists, emergency department physicians, private doctors, the College of Pharmacists and the College of Physicians for the previous 3 years.
If you want information that goes further back, you have to call the College of Pharmacists of B.C. at 604.733.2440 or 800.491.6333.
How Do You Limit Who Can See Your PharmaNet File? Using a Keyword
You can put a keyword on your PharmaNet Record to block anyone from seeing it without your knowledge. The keyword works just like a PIN or password. It is needed every single time anyone needs to view your pharmanet record. Each time your prescriptions are filled, including for refills, any time you want information about your prescriptions or anytime your doctor needs to see your pharmanet record, the keyword is required.
If you get a keyword put on your pharmanet record, you can keep it secret or give it only to certain people - it is your choice.
To put a keyword on your file you must tell your pharmacist to put it on. She will need to see your identification if she hasn’t known you for more than two years. If you forget the keyword the PharmaNet Help Desk will delete it for you if you instruct them to do so. You can then put a new keyword on your file.
The College of Pharmacists has detailed instructions on how to put a keyword on your file.
In emergencies the PharmaNet Help Desk which will give an emergency ward access to your Pharmanet file.
See here for information about emergency department access to PharmaNet