- For information on symptoms, how to protect yourself, how to self-isolate, what to do if you have symptoms and how to care for those who are ill, please visit the Ministry of Health’s 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) page. Additional resources are available from Public Health Ontario, Government of Canada, and the World Health Organization.
- The Ministry of Health has created a self-assessment tool to determine if you need to seek further care. Please review the self-assessment BEFORE visiting a pharmacy.
- The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has also put together resources to help people with concerns and questions about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their lives and mental well-being.
- The College developed an infographic you may wish to review: COVID-19: 4 Important Reminders for Patients
If you are a pharmacy professional, please visit the College’s page on COVID-19 for Pharmacy Professionals
30 Day Medication Supplies
To lessen the risk of drug shortages that could result from increased demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Health is recommending pharmacists and dispensing physicians dispense no more than a 30-days’ supply of ODB eligible medications. The notice from the Executive Officer which includes additional details and an FAQ states that dispensers may use professional judgment to provide a longer days’ supply in exceptional cases with appropriate documentation. The supply should not exceed the usual supply for the patient. On May 13, the provincial government announced measures to reduce the co-payment charged to patients for any prescription of 30+ days that is now being dispensed in installments.
The College encourages pharmacists to use their professional judgement to assess each individual situation and act in accordance with the Code of Ethics and in the best interest of their patients. We would encourage patients to work with their pharmacist to find a solution that meets their needs, while respecting the circumstances of the current pandemic and the risk of drug shortages.
The Ontario Pharmacists Association has also released an open letter to patients in Ontario explaining the importance of the 30 day recommendation and how patients can work with their pharmacists to ensure they have the medications they need.
Health Canada has also advised that stockpiling can lead to local shortages. The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) has developed a video to help explain how pharmacies are working to ensure that everyone has access to their medication.
Your Pharmacy Care
Here are some important things to know about your care at the pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Pharmacies will be instituting screening of patients for COVID-19 using the latest case definition. This includes active screening (such as over the phone or at the counter) and passive screening (such as posting signage).
- If you screen positive over the phone with pharmacy, and/or are experiencing the symptoms of COVID-19 (such as fever, cough, difficulty breathing), you will be advised to not enter the pharmacy.
- If you screen positive over the phone, pharmacy professionals are required to direct you to call your public health unit or Telehealth: 1-866-797-0000. If you are already in the pharmacy and screen positive, you will be separated from other patients and staff, while the pharmacy professional works with you to notify the public health unit.
- If you are ill or screen positive, but require medication, please call your pharmacy and speak to them about options for obtaining your medication, such as getting someone from outside your household (who has not screened positive) to pick up your medication or arranging for delivery (if available).
- If you are unable to attend an appointment with your prescriber, or are self-isolating, and require a refill of your medication, please contact your pharmacy to speak with your pharmacist as they may be able to assist with renewing your medication to ensure the continuity of your care.
We encourage you to provide as much notice as possible to your pharmacy regarding your medication needs, including notifying pharmacies in advance of your need for a medication refill, and to remain patient as it may take a longer time than normal to process your prescription and receive your medication.