March 13, 2020, Bill C-4 (the Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation Act) received Royal Assent (approval) and will come into effect July 1st, 2020. The regulatory amendments are available in the Canada Gazette, Part II. This Act amends section 14 of the Food and Drugs Act (i.e., the prohibition on the distribution of drugs as samples).
Corresponding amendments were made to the Food and Drug Regulations (FDRs), including amendments to section C.01.048, to permit the distribution of drugs as samples to a “practitioner”. “Practitioner” is now defined in the FDRs, referring to a person who is entitled under the laws of a province or territory to treat patients with a prescription drug. These changes permit distribution of drugs as samples to clients, as a matter falling within the nurse practitioner’s scope of practice.
This change in federal legislation allows the provision of drug samples by New Brunswick nurse practitioners. Nurse practitioners must act in accordance with employer policy regarding the provision and documentation of drug samples provided to clients.