Sudbury

Pharmacist breaks down how COVID-19 concerns could affect your medication supply

A pharmacist in Greater Sudbury says you may experience some changes when accessing prescription medication during concerns about COVID-19, but Jim Palys stresses people will still be able to get what they need.

Jim Palys says ‘mechanisms in place’ to obtain medication

Pharmacist Jim Palys says there are protocols in place to ensure patients will get their medications. (David Donnelly/CBC)

A pharmacist in Greater Sudbury says you may experience some changes when accessing prescription medication during concerns about COVID-19, but Jim Palys stresses people will still be able to get what they need.

"Patients need not be concerned about obtaining their medications," Palys, a pharmacist with Lively Pharmacy said.

However, he says to be prepared to expect a possible smaller supply than you're used to getting.

"We have now on many products been given an allocation which means I may order 10 of something from our wholesaler and they will ship us three," he said. "That's not to say that there's a shortage of product, but there's been a mandate to prevent stockpiling, not only by patients, but by pharmacies."

"But we are pretty much guaranteed to get the product that we need, maybe just not the quantities that we're used to getting," he said.

He says his pharmacy is taking its own proactive stance by telling patients they need to fill their prescriptions early when necessary.

"I do believe that the governments in play are ensuring that if alternate sources of prescription sources are necessary, there will be mechanisms in place to obtain them whether it's from other jurisdictions or find some other means of provision," he said.

"That should not be an issue at this time. The whole point of allocating products is to prevent that from even occurring."

According to the Canadian Pharmacists Association, there are no current drug shortages related to COVID-19. It adds any current shortages are consistent with 2019 levels.

"We haven't run out of anything," Palys said. "That's not to say there aren't drug shortages but these shortages existed long before COVID-19."

'Difficult situation'

As for limiting the spread of COVID-19, Palys says if you have respiratory issues to call your pharmacy before heading in.

"A lot of our patients come in just to discuss their current health issue and in the case of anybody suspected of having a respiratory illness, we would direct them to the proper screening," he said.

"If it's for prescriptions and they're feeling unwell, we will definitely make arrangements to get their medication to them one way or another."

Palys adds he appreciates his staff during a time like this when the public is encouraged to practice social distancing.

"It's a difficult situation," he said. "We are doing some enhanced cleaning and disinfecting on a regular basis throughout the day to try and keep people safe."

He says so far, his pharmacy has enough personal protective equipment for staff, but he's worried that may not be the case for long. He says the issue has been brought up repeatedly with the province.

With files from Jessica Pope

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