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

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

Joel Goddard and Susie Fletcher are parents of a baby son. Joel hasn’t been seen since Nov. 10. (Missing Joel Goddard Facebook page)
Family and friends continue searching for missing Langley father

Helicopters, drones and foot searches planned in the coming days

Suspected cocaine, opioids, cash, and ledgers were seized in raids on Nov. 21. (Langley RCMP/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Three arrested in raid on Langley dial-a-dope ring

Police say the suspects were selling into the Aldergrove area

Langley School District is asking parents and students to prepare for the “possibility” of return to remote learning. (Unsplash photo)
District asks Langley students to prepare for ‘possibility of remote learning’

Two more schools were issued COVID-19 exposure alerts Tuesday

Langley residents took their questions and concerns to TransLink’s open house at Langley City Hall in November of 2019. (Langley Advance Times files)
LETTER: Langley MP’s SkyTrain request will go nowhere

Liberal government will ignore Conservative MP’s call for SkyTrain funding

Langley City’s Gregory Douglas snapped a picture of a rainbow over the downtown core Tuesday, Nov. 24. “Just wanted to share this beautiful view that I happened to capture today, that illustrates not only Mother Nature’s beauty,” but what an “amazing city” we live in. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
SHARE: Langley City resident discovers treasure and both ends of the rainbow

Send us your photo showing how you view Langley, and it could be featured in a future edition

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

B.C. projects targeting the restoration of sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser and Columbia Watersheds will share in $10.9 million of federal funding to protect species at risk. (Kenny Regan photo)
13 projects protecting B.C. aquatic species at risk receive $11 million in federal funding

Salmon and marine mammals expected to benefit from ecosystem-based approach

File photo
Surrey RCMP investigating death threat against Surrey councillor

‘On Monday morning I received a threat on messenger that basically said to put a bullet in me,’ Councillor Jack Hundial told the Now-Leader

Krista Macinnis displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
B.C. mom angry that students asked to list positive stories about residential schools

Daughter’s Grade 6 class asked to write down 5 positive stories or facts

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Barrels pictured outside Oliver winery, Quinta Ferreira, in May. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
B.C. Master of Wine reflects on industry’s teetering economic state

Pandemic, for some wine makers, has been a blessing in disguise. For others, not so much.

A fentanyl test strip is used at Vancouver Coastal Health in Vancouver, Tuesday, January, 21, 2020. The test strips will be made available to drug users to ensure that their drugs are safe and free of Fentanyl. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Drug overdoses lead to 5 deaths each day in October; drug toxicity continues to increase

COVID-19 crisis continues to exacerbate the overdose crisis

An employee of the Adventure Hotel was taken to hospital on Nov. 20 after she confronted a customer of Empire Coffee about not wearing a mask. File photo.
Nelson hotel employee suffers heart attack after being assaulted in anti-mask incident

An accountant at the Adventure Hotel is in hospital in Kelowna

Most Read