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The British Columbia government will spend $23-million over three years to train 50 new clinical pharmacists to strengthen British Columbia’s primary care teams.

Health Minister Adrian Dix says the pharmacists will be embedded in the health teams announced last month as part of a renewal program to offer more care options to patients.

The plan includes hiring 200 new doctors and more nurse practitioners in an effort to link health services to patients and better connect primary care to more than 780,000 people in B.C. who don’t have a family doctor.

Mr. Dix says adding clinical pharmacists to the teams will help patients manage their prescription requirements and will reduce the risk of adverse drug reactions.

He says as people age, their need to take more than one prescription medicine often increases and some over the age of 70 are taking at least five different medications daily.

Mr. Dix made the announcement at the University of British Columbia’s pharmaceutical-sciences faculty, where the new clinical pharmacists program will be delivered.

“These pharmacists will be able to work in team-based settings where they will be able to share patient information with people’s health practitioners and truly get to know patients,” he said.

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