In Alberta, how long does a prescription remain valid from the time the doctor writes it until it is taken to the pharmacy?

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Excellent question and one that we are asked several times each week.

The prescription once issued has legal authority for ONE YEAR (12 months).  That means a pharmacist can accept and fill that prescription for up to one year after the date it was issued.   That timeline is the same whether it is kept by the patient or given to the pharmacist to be placed on the patient's file (deferred).

Additionally, once a prescription is filled it has a lifespan of 18 months even if it still has refills remaining.  After 18 months the pharmacist will require a new prescription for the medication.

In summary:

  • Lifespan of a new prescription once issued  = 12 months from the date it was issued
  • Lifespan of a prescription once filled = 18 months from the original date it was dispensed.

These are the current Alberta regulations and must be followed by every pharmacy in the province.

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