B.C. pharmacists are allowed to refill expired prescriptions for chronic conditions, with a limit of 30 days supply so people can self-isolate. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Don’t stockpile drugs, only recently expired prescriptions can be refilled, B.C. pharmacies say

B.C. allows bypassing doctor for chronic condition refills in COVID-19 emergency

As with toilet paper and food items, some people are unnecessarily trying to stock up on prescription drugs as the medical system copes with coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, says the B.C. Pharmacy Association.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix has announced a series of measures to help free up doctors, including cancelling elective surgeries, calling on retired and military doctors, and allowing chronic medicine patients to get prescription refills directly from their pharmacist.

With a surge of people attempting to refill expired prescriptions or get new ones, the B.C. Pharmacy Association issued a reminder to patients that legal limits on drug distribution remain in effect. Expired prescriptions may temporarily be refilled if they were issued within the past year, with a 30-day supply so people can self-isolate for 14 days or more if they have symptoms of respiratory illness.

“There has been a significant increase in requests for prescription renewals and emergency refills, and some confusion around the regulations pharmacists must follow,” Annette Robinson, vice president of the B.C. Pharmacy Association, told Black Press. “We are recommending that patients phone their regular pharmacy to discuss their needs with a pharmacist or a pharmacy team member.”

If patients have refills left on a prescription, they are also advised to call first to arrange direct refill. If they have no refills left, “in certain situations” additional supplies may be provided.

Birth control pills can be renewed for up to two years from the original date the prescription was written, and that is the only exception to the one-year expiry, Robinson said.

RELATED: RCMP warn of COVID-19 scams spreading in B.C.

RELATED: B.C. declares state of emergency, recalls legislature

PharmaCare, the provincial drug insurance agency, has issued advice to pharmacists to participate in COVID-19 assistance.

“Reduce prescriber visits by providing up to 30-day emergency supplies to patients with expired prescriptions,” says the latest pharmacist newsletter from PharmaCare. “This may be repeated for another 30-day supply if necessary. This includes narcotics, psychiatric drugs and anti-psychotics for chronic conditions.”

Birth control pills can be renewed for up to two years from the original date the prescription was written.

The main goal for pharmacists in the COVID-19 emergency is to provide people with an adequate supply of their regular medications so they can self-isolate, or to refill prescriptions that run out during the period of high demand for physician services.

“Patients are encouraged not to stockpile medications,” the association said in a public statement March 17. “Pharmacists aim to make sure all patients have access to their medications, so they are generally not providing more than a 30-day supply to support those who are self-isolating.”

No new medications can be dispensed without a doctor’s prescription, only renewals for chronic conditions.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Just Posted

West Kootenay couple escapes Spain – safe, sound, and in self-isolation

BC couple Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

Hospital’s Chief of Staff asks residents for help containing COVID-19

Invermere & District Hospital Chief of Staff says COVID-19 cases here, caution and care needed

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

Interior Health officials outline pandemic response in virtual town hall

Kelowna-Lake County MLA Norm Letnick moderates digital discussion, Q&A with Interior Health leadership

MP Morrison touts non-partisan effort to provide relief amid COVID-19 pandemic

The federal government has announced a slew of economic initiatives for those impacted by the pandemic

B.C. issues guidelines about distancing, reusable bags to grocery stores amid COVID-19

Hand sanitizer and markers to keep lines two metres are apart are needed, province says

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Olympics?

Put your knowledge to the test with these 12 questions

B.C. announces $3M for food banks to increase capacity during COVID-19

It is not clear how much of the money will flow towards Greater Victoria food banks

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

World COVID-19 update: U.S. expects 100,000 deaths; Oregon declares disaster

Comprehensive update of world news for Sunday, March 19.

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

Most Read