Medication stockpiling in B.C. leads to quantity limits

Medication stockpiling in B.C. leads to quantity limits

Medication stockpiling is a now major concern in B.C. and it’s adding to an already busy time at pharmacies across Vancouver Island during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think I speak for all pharmacists in B.C. when I say our workload has increased dramatically in the last couple weeks and that’s just because people are worried about not getting their medication and not having enough,” says pharmacist Daniel Hong at Heart Pharmacy Fairfield.

To help ease the pressure on the health care system, pharmacists can now refill regular medications or provide an emergency supply without the need for a doctor’s visit.

But some panicked patients are trying to stockpile drugs — and it’s leading to shortages of some critical medication including blood pressure and cholesterol drugs and inhalers.”I urge all patients out there to work together as a community and not hoard medications,” Hong says.

Some pharmacies are now limiting to supplies to only what someone would need for the next few weeks.

Both B.C.’s health minister and the College of Pharmacists of B.C. say there’s absolutely no reason to stock pile drugs and doing so puts needless pressure on the system.

“I think it’s a significant concern that patients may stockpile,” says College of Pharmacists of B.C. registrar Bob Nakagawa.”I don’t think we have to worry about running out of medication as long as folks are being reasonable.”

Back at Heart Pharmacy, they’re making sure people who need their medication are getting it.

They’re asking anyone who’s sick and has any cold or flu symptoms — even very mild ones — not to come into the pharmacy at all.
They’re encouraging all customers to use the free home delivery service most pharmacies have so they can reduce the number of people coming into the pharmacy and to help people stay home and stay safe.

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