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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tofino and Ucluelet distilleries step up with hand sanitizer

Mass supply delivered to emergency operation centres in Tofino, Ucluelet, Bamfield and Port Alberni.

COVID-19: Isolation exemptions to frontline workers a danger to patients, say Island Health employees

Staff exempt from self-isolation upon return from international travel according to Island Health

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

Affordable housing project advances in Tofino

Proposal includes 72 units and three duplex townhouses with secondary suites.

Tsunami waves, earthquakes and COVID-19: What if the worst ‘worst’ case scenario hits the Coast?

“All the basic principles still apply here, in terms of community response.”

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

B.C. Ferries passengers staying away, as asked, during COVID-19 pandemic

Ferry corporation says ridership down 70-80 per cent over the last week and a half

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

COVID-19 world update: Enforceable quarantine in NYC?; France orders 1 billion masks

Spain warns EU’s future at stake; New York governor calls Trump’s idea ‘federal declaration of war

Duncan man asks community to donate RVs to essential workers in need of quarantine

Ryan Oakley creates a Facebook group to help coordinate the effort

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

Most Read