Wednesday, 3 Mar 2021

Alberta pharmacists see high demand, but no shortage of prescriptions amid coronavirus concerns

Toilet paper and non-perishables aren’t the only things people are stocking up on as concerns and restrictions increase around the coronavirus pandemic. Prescriptions are also in higher-than-normal demand at some pharmacies.

Pharmacists are now urging patients to avoid stockpiling drugs, as COVID-19 puts a strain on the medication supply chain.

According to Randy Howden, a pharmacist and owner of The Medicine Shoppe Crowfoot in Calgary, Monday and Tuesday saw “double or more” prescriptions than normal filled at the store.

“We’re hearing a mixture,” Howden said. “Some people are very understanding and are just wanting to make sure they don’t run low on their medication.

“And then there’s the other extreme side where some people are trying to stockpile medication and want early fills and large quantities filled.”

Howden said he’s had customers ask for a six-month supply of their medications.

In light of that increased demand, he’s hoping to get the message out that the distribution system is strong in Canada, and “we’re not expecting any drug shortages.”

“We’re not wanting people to run out of medications,” he said.

“We want them to be proactive and not be calling the pharmacies last minute, but there’s no reason to stockpile medication and stock up more than what we’d normally have at home.”

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