Health Tips Video: London Drugs Pharmacy Offers Point of Care Testing

London Drugs performs a range of point of care tests

Pharmacies are more than just places to pick up prescriptions. Did you know that some pharmacies also offer point of care testing?

Point of care testing is a term for any medical test or screening that is performed outside of a lab or clinic. The testing happens at a place where the patient is receiving care, such as a pharmacy. It’s more convenient for the patient and, as London Drugs Registered Pharmacist Ellen Cheng says, “the really big advantage is that you don’t have to wait as long for the results.” Because of advances in medical diagnostic technology, point of care tests don’t need to be processed in a lab. You can have the results right away.

London Drugs pharmacists can perform screening for several diseases and conditions:

  • Hepatitis C
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • And more

Hepatitis C Screening

Hepatitis C is a chronic disease that attacks the liver, and can cause serious liver damage or even liver failure if left untreated. There are curative treatments for hepatitis C but the BC Health Authority estimates that 1 in 4 people in BC with hepatitis C are unaware that they have it. This means that 25% of people are undiagnosed and thus not receiving treatment.

This is why London Drugs developed an in-house hepatitis C screening program, to make it easier for people to get tested and thus reduce the potential for long-term liver problems in those who do have hepatitis C. The screening involves a quick finger prick test using the OraQuick HCV rapid antibody test. This test detects hepatitis C antibodies in the blood and is 99% accurate. It takes about 20 minutes, and then the pharmacist can explain the results and what your next steps might be, including connecting with a doctor if necessary.

Osteoporosis Screening

For osteoporosis screening, a bone strength scan of the wrist can be done using a Sunlight Omnisense® device. It uses safe, non-invasive ultrasound technology and can provide immediate results which you can then discuss with your pharmacist.

Heart Disease Screening

Heart disease screening involves point of care testing of blood sugar and cholesterol levels, as well as measurement of your blood pressure. Like the hepatitis C screening, these tests use a small blood sample via a pin-prick device.

When visiting any London Drugs Pharmacy point of care screening clinic, please bring all your prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and any other herbal remedies you take. This can help inform the individualized plan you and your pharmacist will make.

Hepatitis C screening now offered at five Calgary London Drugs locations


Hepatitis C screening now offered at five Calgary London Drugs locations

Unique collaboration between doctors and pharmacists expands access to
hepatitis C screening and treatment in Calgary

Hepatitis C screening now offered at five London Drugs locations in Calgary, helping to make testing and treatment for the potentially liver-destroying virus more accessible. Patients can now undertake a simple finger prick test at the pharmacy to check if they have been exposed to hepatitis C virus (HCV).  The test, called the OraQuick HCV rapid antibody test, is more than 99 per cent accurate at detecting HCV antibodies and provides results in 20 minutes.

According to Alberta Health Services (AHS), an estimated 24,000 Albertans live with chronic hepatitis C and many are unaware they harbor the blood-borne virus because it can take decades before symptoms become evident.

“You can carry this infection for decades in your liver and actually have no symptoms at all – until the end stages of the disease. That’s why screening and early diagnosis is critically important,” says Dr. Matthew Sadler, a physician at the Foothills Medical Centre’s Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and clinical assistant professor at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine. “Offering hepatitis C screening in the community helps increase awareness of the disease, and expands access to treatment by offering a point-of-care testing option that some, such as those without a family doctor, may find more convenient,” he says.

Recent guidelines published by the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver recommend that all Canadians born between 1945 and 1975 get tested.

“Making hepatitis C screening quick and convenient right in the pharmacy and working collaboratively with doctors, we can ensure those who test positive will get the treatment and follow-up care they need,” says Aaron Lo, Pharmacy Manager at London Drugs.

“There is a lot of misinformation about hepatitis C. The cure rate is above 95 per cent now and the treatment is relatively simple. It involves taking antiviral medications daily for eight to 12 weeks,” says Lo.

Hepatitis C screening is available at the following London Drugs locations in Calgary. Patients should call the pharmacy to book an appointment. The cost of the test is $24.


First Calgary SE

4701 – 130th Avenue. SE

Calgary, Alberta, T2Z 4J2


Pharmacy: (403) 257-6850

London Town Square

3545 – 32nd Avenue NE

Calgary, Alberta T1Y 6M6


Pharmacy: (403) 250-8492


Beddington Towne Centre

8120 Beddington Blvd NW

Calgary, Alberta T3K 2A8


Pharmacy: (403) 275-4804


Stephen Ave LD Express

230 – 8 Avenue SW

Calgary, Alberta T2P 1B5


Pharmacy: (403) 351-0645


London Place West

5255 Richmond Road SW

Calgary, Alberta T3E 7C4


Pharmacy: (403) 240-1235