While all of the major highways in the interior of British Columbia are still cut off from the Lower Mainland by floods and landslides, pharmacies in Okanagan have rationed the amount of medication they dispense at one time in order to ‘avoid running out.
This means, for example, that instead of giving a patient three months of medication at a time, pharmacies might only be able to offer patients a one-month supply.
However, two pharmacies that Global Okanagan spoke to on Friday expected to be restocked by air before the situation became critical.
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“We would dissuade people from trying to panic by piling up their drugs. It is certainly not a necessity at this time. There are drugs, that’s how fast we can get [it]Said Brandon Shul, director of pharmacy at Dyck’s Pharmacists in Kelowna.
Shul said the problem is that for pharmacies in British Columbia, most drugs are dispensed from warehouses located in the Lower Mainland.
Many pharmacies are used to receiving daily or almost daily deliveries by truck and do not receive them.
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“There are things that we lack resources on… we can kind of limit what we are able to provide to each person to maintain that there is something for everyone that everyone has access to.” , Shul said.
“I think the biggest problem …[is] for patients who receive unique or exotic drugs that are ordered more on an ad hoc basis.
So far, Shul said, his pharmacy has not had to turn away any customers.
“Actually, a lot of the local pharmacies are really good, they work together. It is part of the College of Pharmacists mandate to try to help each other with inventory, so there has been an increase in the volume of phone calls between pharmacies trying to transfer inventory between them to ensure that the patients are taken care of, ”Shul said.
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Shul said a major drug supplier is trying to restock pharmacies in larger communities by air and has asked companies to order what they need in the short term.
The pharmacist expects the replenishment to arrive before the store starts to run out of drugs.
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Nolan’s Pharmasave in Vernon also expected drugs to be flown on Friday.
Pharmacist Will Beley said the store’s supplies were “rapidly dwindling”.
“It’s tough. It’s taxing on the staff and just because there’s this stranger,” Beley said Friday.
“Even today, we don’t know he’s going to show up, but we’re pretty sure it will. We received invoices saying this was happening.
The store typically receives medication six days a week, but has not received a delivery since Saturday.
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Nolan’s Pharmasave also distributed shorter amounts of medicine than it normally would so more patients could get the medicine they need, but on Friday there were some things missing.
“There is certainly [have] have been times when we have had to say we don’t have it. But it wasn’t an emergency where they needed to have it, ”Beley said.
Both pharmacies said patients were understanding and willing to take shorter amounts of their medication during the highway closure.
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