With deliveries cancelled throughout the week, Island pharmacies have been left scrambling to fill prescriptions.
Inside of Pandora Avenue’s CareMed Pharmacy, staff have been on the phone throughout the morning trying to secure drugs to fill their patient’s prescriptions.
“What we started to do this morning is to start phoning around to find out where we could actually maybe borrow or buy drugs from local pharmacies that have maybe a larger inventory then we had,” says pharmacist Norman Richard.
With winter weather bringing chaos to B.C. and Vancouver Island’s transportation sector throughout the week, the pharmacy was left without its usual delivery of medications.
“They cancelled Tuesday’s delivery, they cancelled all deliveries this week,” says Richard. “It was only because of the local contractor that decided to take it upon himself to go through the warehouse and pick the drugs that were absolutely necessary that we were able to get the delivery this morning.”
Now the pharmacy will have to wait until next Tuesday to receive its usual delivery.
“It’s going to be nip and tuck indeed,” says Richard. “We might make it, especially if we do some rearranging with the drug strength.”
In a statement, B.C.’s Ministry of Health says it has ensured hospitals have emergency drug supplies available, but individual pharmacies are responsible for their own inventory.
“Extreme winter storms and arctic outflows caused inventory shortages for many businesses throughout British Columbia, including pharmacies,” the ministry said in a statement.
“Pharmacies and their partners, like the B.C. Pharmacy Association, work together to coordinate supplies amongst pharmacies to replenish medication from the Province’s supply or direct from manufacturers depending on the type of drug. Regardless of their efforts to coordinate supply, harsh weather can still cause shipping delays or staff shortages leading to the unavailability of some drugs.”
Even with the wild weather, it’s something Richard says suppliers should be prepared for.
“It’s not likely to be an isolated incident and so their should be a plan in place,” says Richard. “The province should do something about making sure that essential drug deliveries take place no matter what, even if they have to be flown.”
So until the next shipment comes in, Richard and his team will continue working hard to try and meet the need of their patients.