As announced earlier this week by B.C. Minister of Health Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, patients will be able to obtain refills of their regular prescriptions at pharmacies in an effort to avoid non-essential physician visits and free doctors to treat COVID-19 cases.
The College of Pharmacists of British Columbia said this means patients who require a refill of their regular medications do not need to visit a doctor or nurse practitioner for an updated prescription. Instead, a pharmacist can provide patients with a refill or emergency supply of their medications. This also includes controlled drugs and substances, such as opioid agonist therapy.
The college said this will allow healthy British Columbians to practise safe social distancing, while also freeing up medical professionals to treat more urgent patients. is urging patients not to stockpile medications as doing so is harmful to the drug supply and could put others at risk.
The college recommends no more than a single month’s supply, but patients should speak to their pharmacist about their personal health situation and their pharmacist can recommend an appropriate supply of medications.
Patients with compromised immune systems or who have an increased risk of more severe outcomes from COVID-19 may want to refill their prescriptions now so they do not have to go to a pharmacy or clinic if they do become sick.
The college is asking those experiencing symptoms or who are self-isolating not to visit pharmacies. Many pharmacies provide delivery services that can help patients — especially those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 – avoid visiting a pharmacy in-person. Patients can also arrange to have someone to pick up their medications for them.
More information is online at bcpharmacists.org/COVID19.