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

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hill using a homemade trip camera. Schroyen presents Animal Signs: The Essence of Animal Communication on Nov. 30. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

The West Shore Community Response Network (CRN) is urging awareness around National Fraud Prevention Month, so residents can especially help protect older and vulnerable adults against fraud. (Photo by Joshua Hoehne/Upsplash)
March dialed in as National Fraud Prevention Month

West Shore Community Response Network urges citizens to protect seniors against phone, email scams

Students from SD62 stepped up to help members in the community with the annual 10,000 Tonight food drive. This year’s organizers had to adapt during the campaign as COIVD-19 public health orders changed. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore students step up to make sure community members don’t go without

Students of SD62 are this year’s recipient of the Youth Volunteer Award

A cat died in this house fire in Sidney afternoon. The fire started on the house’s deck and spread from that point. Sidney Volunteer Fire Department Chief Brett Mikkelsen said the permanent presence of crews at the Community Safety Building prevented worse damage. (Photo courtesy of Clayton Firth)
Sidney house fire kills cat, causes extensive damage

Official says fire started on deck and damage to the house could have been worse

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

A boat caught fire in Ladysmith Harbour on Saturday morning. (Photo submitted)
Search underway for missing woman after boat catches fire in Ladysmith harbour

A large boat caught fire on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 27

Lone orca from a pod that made its way north from Georgia Strait and into Discovery Passage on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. Photo by Ella Smiley/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/Comoxvalleywildlifesightings/?ref=page_internal" target="_blank">Comox Valley Wildlife Sightings </a>
Island wildlife viewers thrilled by close view of passing Orca pod

Group gives wildlife photographers a classic opportunity to view them off Campbell River shoreline

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Most Read