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Statement on 30-day medication supply during COVID-19 pandemic
Thursday, March 19, 2020

A message from New Brunswick Pharmacists’ Association to those who have expressed concern about the recent directive that limits medication supply to 30-days:

We hear you. We recognize your concerns.

But please know this:

COVID-19 has thrust the world into an extraordinary situation that is rapidly evolving. After a very busy weekend at pharmacies across the province, it became evident steps needed to be put in place to protect the supply of medication for all. This is not unique to New Brunswick as other provinces have implemented similar policies. Providing patients with a 30-day supply of medication now will help pharmacists continue to ensure a stable supply for all as this situation evolves in the coming weeks. Pharmacists are ethically bound to manage their drug supply to ensure medications are available to all New Brunswickers.

We recognize the 30-day limit may result in more visits to the pharmacy. This is also a concern to pharmacists and their staff, who want to limit their exposure to COVID-19 too. To mitigate this, many pharmacies are offering free delivery for prescriptions, operating drive-thrus, erecting plexiglass barriers between patients and pharmacy staff.

We recognize this directive means some patients will pay more dispensing fees and copays. Please keep in mind that this is temporary change in dispensing practice, and we are working as an Association on both a provincial and federal level to alleviate the burden this may cause some patients.

With many other avenues to access health care services are restricted, pharmacists are seeing a surge in patients – many of them showing up sick, coughing and asking about fevers. Pharmacists are on the frontline of this pandemic and they are bearing the brunt of the public frustration on this 30-day supply directive while doing the best they can to focus on the health of their patients and the health and well-being of their staff.

We understand this is a stressful and uncertain time for everyone, but please remember, we are all in this together. We ask all New Brunswickers to be patient and respectful of pharmacists and their staff as they face this crisis while putting themselves at risk to provide vital health care services.

We ask New Brunswickers to NOT GO TO A PHARMACY if they are showing symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, new onset of cough or difficulty breathing), if they have been travelling outside the country within the last 14 days or if they think they have been exposed to a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19. Instead, please conduct a self-assessment and call 811 if appropriate.

Janet MacDonnell
Interim Executive Director
New Brunswick Pharmacists' Association