Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for Patients

If you are a pharmacy professional, please visit the College’s page on COVID-19 for Pharmacy Professionals

On this page, you will find a number of resources for patients on COVID-19, as well as information on how to work with your pharmacy and pharmacist to protect and support your health.

The College has been and will continue to engage the Ministry of Health, public health officials, and our pharmacy sector partners to support patients and pharmacy professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Note: Please see this notice from the Retail Council of Canada regarding the holiday weekend operation of pharmacies.  

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.

Please do not stockpile medications. Pharmacy professionals are encouraged to use their professional judgment to work with you to ensure that you have access to the medications you need, without putting other patients’ health at risk. 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.

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.

There is currently significant stress on the healthcare system, including pharmacies, as healthcare providers work to keep you healthy and safe. 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.

Please note that Health Canada has advised against the use of homemade hand sanitizers as they may present health risks.