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Ontarians with 13 common ailments can skip the doctor’s office and head straight to the pharmacist to get a prescription as of today.

The provincial government says pharmacists now have the power to prescribe treatments for conditions that include pink eye and hemorrhoids.

Other conditions for which Ontario pharmacists will be allowed to assess patients and prescribe medication as needed are:

  • acid reflux
  • cold sores
  • skin irritation
  • menstrual cramps
  • impetigo
  • insect bites
  • hives
  • hay fever
  • sprains

They will also be able to treat uncomplicated urinary tract infections and prescribe antibiotics after tick bites to prevent Lyme disease.

The province says residents need only bring their health card to a participating pharmacy.

Both Shoppers Drug Mart and Rexall said their pharmacists would be ready to provide the service today.

But the head of the Ontario Pharmacists Association said people should expect a bit of a ramp-up period.

Justin Bates says Ontarians should call their pharmacies or visit their websites to find out if they’re ready to make prescriptions.

The provincial government says the new program comes at no extra cost to Ontarians and will free up doctors to treat more complex medical conditions.