Pharmacists in B.C. can now authorize prescription refills and renewals amid COVID-19. (Black Press Media files)

Should you stockpile medication during the pandemic? Experts say no

Canadian Pharmacist Association calls stockpiling “completely unnecessary”

As people stock up on groceries, toilet paper and cleaning supplies (despite being told not to) some are wondering if the hoarding mentality should apply to medication.

According to the Canadian Pharmacist Association (CPhA), pharmacists are becoming “increasingly mindful about the need to carefully manage our drug supply to weather” the long term impacts of the pandemic.

While there is no known shortage in Canada as of yet, patients stockpiling could exacerbate this problem.

In a statement, the CPhA said pharmacists across Canada are urging Canadians not to stockpile medication or request early refills unless absolutely necessary.

“These actions could create unintended drug shortages and put other patients’ health at risk,” reads the statement, adding that pharmacies are expected to remain open during the pandemic and they need to be able to “allocate medication equitably to all patients.”

READ ALSO: ‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Harj Samra, pharmacist and co-founder of PocketPills, an online pharmacy, says he expects a shortage of drugs to occur due to the fact that 80 per cent of the active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) come from China.

“That’s a huge chunk of the actual ingredients that get made into tablets,” he says. “Canada and the U.S. have been getting their active ingredients from the European Union, we take a very small amount from China but as the rest of the world looks for outside sources, we believe that shortage is inevitable.”

READ ALSO: Don’t stockpile drugs, only recently expired prescriptions can be refilled, B.C. pharmacies say

Now, pharmacists across the country have been told to restrict prescriptions to a 30-day supply due to pandemic disrupting supply lines and threatening shortages of a variety of drugs.

Hans Bawa, owner of Fort Royal Pharmacy in Victoria, says she hasn’t noticed an uptick in people buying more medication than usual but that could be due to the one per customer buying limit the pharmacy has implemented.

CPhA recommends Canadians have non-prescription medication for colds, fever and allergies on hand but says stockpiling medication in large quantities is “completely unnecessary.”

Samra says that if a drug shortage did come into effect for pharmacists, they are able to intervene and substitute medication for a different brand of drug to ensure someone does not go with out medication.

“We have that ability to make those changes and if somebody was out of a particular medication, we can get something within the same class that has the same dose and change it over,” he says.

With files from Ashley Wadhwani



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

No active confirmed COVID-19 cases in Interior Health: BCCDC

Numbers from the BCCDC’s dashboard show 193 of the 195 COVID-19 cases in the region have recovered

Historic Hat Creek finds novel way to keep part of site open

VIP shopping experience offers people private visit to site’s gift shop

Mobile harm reduction service making weekly trips to Cache Creek

Service provides free kits, instruction, information, and referrals to those who need it

Ashcroft food bank benefits from donation as demand increases

Community Futures Thompson Country provides much-needed cash donation

Trudeau offers $14B to provinces for anti-COVID-19 efforts through rest of year

Making a difference in municipalities is a pricey proposition

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe comapaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

‘Alarmed’: Health critic calls for more data on COVID-19 in trucking industry

Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec said that level of detail is not being collected

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Most Read