Whether you frequently visit the pharmacy for a prescription drug or are just now needing medication for yourself or a loved one, your local pharmacy will be there to care for you. Even in a global pandemic, pharmacies are one of the only places that will remain open, although their operations may look a little different during this time. Here is a pharmacist’s guide on navigating your medications during the pandemic to help yourself, your pharmacy, and your community:
- Do Not Stockpile. It is good to have a short-term supply of medications on hand in case of an emergency, but you do NOT need a year’s supply of medication. Attempting to stockpile large quantities can cause supply chain issues and leave other patients without necessary medication.
- Ask About Delivery or Drive-Thru Services. In order to stay operating, we need as few people as possible contributing to foot traffic and the possible spread of viruses throughout the pharmacy. Ask about options such as curbside pickup, drive thru, shipping, and delivery.
- Do Not Skip Doses. Skipping medications could put you at risk for needing other types of medical care, which takes up preventable medical resources and could expose you to viruses circulating in medical facilities. Stick to your medication regime as directed.
- Plan Your Refills. If you are close to being due for a refill, check to see if you can get a 90-day supply filled. Many insurances are allowing overrides so that patients can fill medication earlier or in larger quantities. *There will be numerous exceptions to this. Listen to what your pharmacy says about whether your meds qualify for an early 90-day supply refill and whether YOU need to contact your insurance company.
- Take Responsibility. If your pharmacy tells you that you need authorization from your insurance company to refill early, please call the Member Services line yourself. Expecting pharmacists to call on everyone’s early refills would disrupt their ability to fill prescriptions and serve their patients.
- Think of Your Community. If you are afraid and want to stockpile, stop and think about your community. If you take all the hygiene products and leave everyone else around you with nothing, they will not be able to follow precautions which puts you at increased risk. Alternatively, if you are brushing this whole pandemic off, remember that others in your community may have different reasons to be worried. Please be considerate to others and use the proper precautions recommended by the CDC.
Your community pharmacy will be there to help answer any questions or concerns you may have during this time. It’s important to remain calm and follow proper precautions to help slow the spread of viruses and ensure your community remains safe and healthy. Please call your pharmacy with any questions or concerns, or visit www.cdc.gov for the latest COVID-19 information.