News Release

College Not a Barrier to Sunscreen Programs

Aug 06, 2015

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario is setting the record straight regarding sunscreen distribution programs. A recent article in the Toronto Star stated that the reason Ontario doesn’t have a free sunscreen program like several programs in the United States is because it requires authorization in the form of a medical directive from the College in order to proceed. This is simply not true.

“It is critical that we correct the information that was contained in this story,” said Dr. Carol Leet, President of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. “The public relies on organizations like the College and public health agencies to be trusted sources of accurate information and we want to make sure that the public understands that this organization would never stand in the way of programs that might protect the public.”

Sunscreens are a widely available product, and, although they have a Drug Information Number, do not require special authorization or a medical directive to make them easily accessible.

Medical directives are orders that are written by physicians to other health care providers. They enable health care providers to perform and be involved in specific elements of patient care such as setting broken bones, or communicating a diagnosis to a patient.  A medical directive is not required for sunscreen and the College has never stated that it is. Sunscreen is readily available for the public to purchase and individuals do not require any permission or directive from physicians, other health care providers or the College in order to access sunscreen. 

In addition, the College itself does not issue medical directives to other agencies or individuals.

Note: Since this news release was posted, the concerns identified about the College requiring a medical directive in order for sunscreen to be widely distributed have been addressed and the Toronto Star article has been revised and reposted to reflect those changes.