Pharmacies in hospitals, cancer centres, other health facilities will be upgraded to improve the safety of patients and staff

News Release

Investing in hospital pharmacy upgrades

Pharmacies in hospitals, cancer centres and other health facilities will be upgraded to improve the safety of patients and staff.

Health facilities need safe, sterile environments to reduce the risk of contamination when medications are compounded, and to prevent harm to patients. These conditions also provide a safe working environment for pharmacy staff, who are handling chemotherapy drugs, biologic drugs and other drugs.

Through Budget 2023, Alberta’s government is investing $54 million over three years to renovate and upgrade 33 pharmacies at 20 sites in 11 communities across the province.

“The Alberta government is committed to making sure all patients and staff interacting with hospital pharmacies feel safe. The enhanced standards better protect patients, and these renovations and facility upgrades will help our hospitals and health care centres, which are so important to helping Albertans in their time of greatest need, meet the highest standards for safety and quality.”Jason Copping, Minister of Health

Communities that will have pharmacies renovated and upgraded include Bonnyville, Calgary, Camrose, Canmore, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Red Deer, and St. Albert.

The upgrades will provide additional safety features, enabling these pharmacies to comply with new and enhanced national standards for compounding medications.

“The Alberta College of Pharmacy welcomes the commitment of the Alberta government to update the infrastructure of pharmacies operated by Alberta Health Services. Pharmacies that compound sterile drug preparations must meet rigorous standards to ensure that preparations do not become contaminated, which would present a risk to patients, and to ensure that pharmacy team members are not exposed to the toxicity of certain drugs.”Greg Eberhart, Registrar, Alberta College of Pharmacy

“This funding will ensure pharmacy services is positioned to continue providing the best quality care for our patients. Updating our capabilities to compound drugs in hospital pharmacies is critical to our ability to prepare medications that meet individualized patient needs. Infants who require intravenous medications, for example, may have their exact dosage mixed in-house, which is then administered to them in the unit. Ensuring these hospital pharmacy spaces meet the highest level of standards is critical to patient care and safety.”Karen Horon, interim vice-president, Clinical Support Services and Cancer Care Alberta

“With recent changes to medication preparation standards from our regulatory body, this funding allows Alberta Health Services to update our pharmacies, ensuring pharmacy technicians can continue to practise in the safest manner possible and that our patients receive the highest quality medications.  We are both grateful and excited to receive funding to support the achievement of new standards in quality medication compounding in our pharmacies.”Dana Lyons, manager of technical practice, Alberta Health Services Pharmacy Services, and a registered pharmacy technician

Budget 2023 secures Alberta’s future by transforming the health care system to meet people’s needs, supporting Albertans with the high cost of living, keeping our communities safe and driving the economy with more jobs, quality education and continued diversification.

Quick facts:

  • These upgrades will enable pharmacies in health facilities to comply with:
    • New standards for compounding medications issued by the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA Model Standards for Pharmacy Compounding of Non-Hazardous and Hazardous Sterile Preparations)
    • Accreditation Canada standards.
  • The infrastructure changes include:
    • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning upgrades such as air handlers, heat exchangers, and exhaust fans that allow for minimum filtration requirements and maintain a minimum number of air exchanges per area.
    • Particle contamination control through appropriate cleanroom materials.
    • Publicly-accessible areas and cleanroom separation to minimize contamination.
    • Rooms that can accommodate equipment and exhaust systems to filter the air (for hazardous compounding).
  • All Canadian provinces have adopted these standards or are in the process of adopting them.


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