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Prescribing Upgrade

Are you a licensed naturopathic doctor looking to acquire prescribing authority?

Our pharmaceutical prescribing course builds on your knowledge and experience while providing valuable information to consider when prescribing and monitoring drug therapy to ensure safe and effective treatment for various medical disorders.

Program Description

The pharmacology upgrade course is offered to all registered naturopathic physicians wishing to add prescriptive rights to their practice.  The course, and all supportive materials are available online to allow the freedom of the registrants to work and study at there own pace, and then sign up for the next examination period if they are ready.  It is recommended that registrants allow three to four months of preparation before attempting the exam.
The course consists of two parts.  The first is a series of recorded lectures that will include sessions describing the regulatory scope and other regulatory issues, the essence of basic prescription writing, and the principles of evidence-based prescribing.  The rest support the content of approximately 40% of the required chapters from the textbook.  The specific medical topics that feature recorded lectures were chosen by committee, including members of the profession, and represent the most likely conditions practitioners can expect to see in their practice. While the self-study topics may not be as commonly seen, they are still important for practitioners to have a good understanding of the principles of prescribing. While these topics are not as strongly emphasized in the course, participants are expected to be able to use them safely and effectively.

It is the content of the video supported lectures and chapters that are represented in the oral component of the examination.  All of the required chapters then are potentially represented on the written component of the final exam.  A more detailed description of the processes, examinations, and expectations for the course is available on the website once you have registered.

Registrants of this course will be required to attend the final assessment.

Member Support Forum

The primary feedback and practice participants will receive are through on-line examinations summarizing groups of topics as you work through the material. There will be approximately 200 total questions developed. 60 practice questions are currently accessible via the Therapeutics Education website. Each question will provide feedback on your choices, correct or not, to walk you through the decision making process and refine your approach to prescribing.

Boucher will also make available an on-line forum to allow participants to ask questions of each other and talk about issues and problems they may be having with the content, or to share solutions to such problems. The site could be monitored periodically to provide feedback if it seems necessary.


The assessment procedure is in two parts, each of which must be passed by participants. It is estimated to take approximately four to five hours, and both parts will be taken on the same day.

Part I is a one-on-one assessment exam. Participants will be given a case, with 20 minutes to ask about any particulars. From there, they develop a prescribing plan, which includes writing a prescription and a follow-up evaluation of the patient. This process will be repeated three times for a total of three cases. Each participant will receive feedback describing their strengths and weaknesses, and the outcome of their assessments, which will be pass or fail.

Part II is an open book, multiple-choice examination. The exam will consist of approximately 100 questions, and will take two hours.

Members will be required to successfully complete both the oral and written portions of the assessment.

Exam Dates

Registration is open.

Next prescribing exam:

Exam Date:  Saturday, April 22, 2017.

Exam Registration Deadline: Saturday, April 08, 2017.

For questions email:


I understand that pharmacology is not covered in the prescribing course and that it is based only on prescribing. Are we going to be given a guideline for what information we have to know for the exam regarding pharmacology?

There is a pharmacology text, and while pharmacology will not be the focus of the course, a certain level of understanding is often necessary to understand prescribing choices and monitor implications. You will find that the readings from that text are referenced in the reading lists. Up to one third of the examination will refer to the pharmacological information from this material.

Which drugs and what information on each is on the exam (i.e. dosing, indications, contraindications, interactions)?

The exam will be based on the readings and the material covered in the classes. The items listed above would be a good start. Focus on the readings in general to prepare for the first lecture, which will allow you to refine what you are studying, if needed. The classes will cover best choices, prescription monitoring and the application of what you have learned in the readings.

Can doctors outside the Lower Mainland take the exam remotely?

Unfortunately, that is not possible at this time. Instructors (who are part of the personal assessment process) would have to be willing and able to travel (with overnight stays and other travel expenses covered). We apologize for any inconvenience this causes, but it is necessary to travel to Vancouver.

I have the book list, could you provide more practical guidance on how to catch-up on the assumed background for the course?

Begin with the textbook readings – we will provide some extra support on our Forum. We will monitor the activity on the Forum and, if it seems people need help, we will set up additional support.

If I am not prepared to write the exam, when will there be another opportunity?

The  dates will be announced well before the next exam is offered. If you would like to be notified when this happens, please contact:

Course Fee

Session Fee Register
Pharmaceutical Prescribing Course for BC Naturopaths (Exam fee included) $850 Register Here!
Exam Re-Write (Oral portion) $250 Register Here!
Exam Re-Write (Written portion) $160 Register Here!
Exam Re-Write (Full exam) $410 Register Here!
Exam Re-registration Fee* $350 Register Here

*The Exam Re-registration fee applies only in special circumstances relating to your original registration.  Please contact Olena Lyaskalo if you have any questions about this.


Course and exam fees are non-refundable.

About the Facilitators

Dr. James McCormack, BSc (Pharm.), PharmD 
Professor, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, UBC

Dr. James McCormack received his undergraduate pharmacy degree at the University of British Columbia in 1982. He received his doctorate in pharmacy (PharmD) in 1986 from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina. Dr. McCormack’s focus is shared-informed decision-making using evidence based information and rational therapeutic principles. He has presented over 300 seminars on drug therapy, has published over 100 articles in medical literature, mainly in the area of rational drug therapy, and worked as editor for two internationally recognized textbooks on appropriate/rational drug therapy.

Dr. Adil Virani, BSc (Pharm.), PharmD, FCSHP 
Director, Pharmacy Services, Fraser Health Authority; Associate Professor, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, UBC

Dr. Virani received his undergraduate and doctorate degrees from the UBC, and is a Fellow of the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists. He works as a director with Pharmacy Services at Fraser Health, Vancouver Coastal Health, Providence Health Care and Provincial Health Services Authority. Dr. Virani is also an associate professor with the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UBC. He has over 30 publications and has delivered over 100 presentations. He is the lead editor of a 372 page book entitled the Clinical Handbook of Psychotropic Drugs, which is now in its 18th edition and is the 2009 American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year. He also co-wrote a similar handbook for children and adolescents.

In addition’s to his role on the Education Working Group of the Therapeutics Initiative, Dr. Virani is a core member of the Canadian Optimal Medication Prescribing and Utilization Service (COMPUS) Expert Review Committee and a member of the Human Drug Advisory Panel (HDAP) of the Patented Medicines Prices Review Board (PMPRB).

Online Course Content

All course content can be found at Therapeutics Education. You will receive an account and log in information for this site within three business days of registering for the Prescribing Upgrade course.

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