As of Saturday, Quebec pharmacists can offer new services to customers.

Bill 41 grants new powers to pharmacists, including allowing them to renew prescriptions for certain medication without requiring patients to visit a doctor and allowing pharmacists to prescribe medications for minor conditions like cold sores.

Pharmacists are also now allowed to adjust prescriptions when needed, prescribe lab tests to monitor treatments, find drug substitutes when there’s a shortage in supply and show patients how to take medications, including in jections.

The overhaul to the law is long overdue according to pharmacy owner Nicolas Pun.

“It’s something that in university they taught us, but we never got a chance to do,” he said.

Before the law passed, Quebec was the only province where pharmacists didn’t perform complimentary health care work.

Pun said he believes that the law will take pressure off of the province’s emergency rooms.

“We can help the doctors out by seeing minor cases, helping their patients so they can see bigger problems with other patients,” he said.

The bill was initially passed in 2011 but has stalled due to negotiations over pharmacists’ fees for the extra work.

Health Minister Gaetan Barrette announced Saturday that an agreement in principle had been reached surrounding the remuneration.

The agreement is subject to approval by members of the Quebec Association of Pharmacy Owners and that of the Treasury Board.

The association will gather its members for a general meeting in the coming days.

The details of the agreement may only be released when all involved parties accept the terms.