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A component of the Canadian Medication Incident Reporting and Prevention System (CMIRPS).

SafeMedicationUse Newsletter

How to Safely Transfer Your Prescriptions


You may need to transfer your prescriptions from one pharmacy to another if you are moving or are looking for a more convenient location. You may also need to transfer your prescriptions if you don't have enough medications while travelling. Most prescriptions can be transferred between pharmacies within Canada.

map illustration received a report from a consumer who moved from one province to another. She asked that her prescriptions be transferred to her new pharmacy. After receiving the transferred prescriptions, the new pharmacy mistakenly filled a medication that had been stopped by the doctor over a month before. has the following advice for consumers and caregivers when transferring your prescriptions to from one pharmacy to another:

  • Update your medication list with your doctor and pharmacist before you ask to have your prescriptions transferred. Use the 5 Questions to Ask about Your Medications to help you understand all of your medications when talking to your healthcare providers.
  • Make sure you have enough medication to last for as long as it may take to find a new pharmacy. You may want to visit a few pharmacies (and speak to the pharmacy staff) in the new area before choosing one.
  • Be aware that some prescriptions cannot be transferred without a new prescription or if you are out of refills. Contact your doctor for a new prescription.
  • If you are moving, ask your current doctor for new prescriptions with enough repeats to last for a year. This will give you time to find a family doctor in the new area.
  • Give your medication list to the new pharmacy and ask your new pharmacist to:
    1. 1. Compare the transferred list of medications with your up-to-date medication list.
    2. 2. Contact you for any clarifications.
    3. 3. Set an appointment for a medication review.
  • Share your medication list with your new doctor.

Medication safety bulletins contribute to Global Patient Safety Alerts

This newsletter was developed in collaboration with Best Medicines Coalition and Patients for Patient Safety Canada.

Recommendations are shared with healthcare providers, through the ISMP Canada Safety Bulletin, so that changes can be made together.

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