Pharmacists are the most accessible health care providers and have a critical role to play in identifying, reporting, and managing potential cases of Covid-19. As the first point of contact most people have with our healthcare system, pharmacists are also playing an important role answering questions and addressing misinformation from concerned patients when it comes to Covid-19.
The Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) has said it wants to ensure that people are properly prepared and urges people to follow the recommendations issued by public health authorities, including the Department of Health and the HSE.
In order to ensure that pharmacies can continue to provide services as this illness spreads, pharmacy staff must be protected from unnecessary exposure to coronavirus. Therefore, pharmacists emphasise the advice of the HSE that anyone who has been to an affected place in the last 14 days or who has had contact with someone with coronavirus and who is exhibiting fever, cough or other respiratory symptoms of Covid-19 should not attend at a pharmacy or GP clinic. Instead, they should stay at home and phone their GP or local emergency department without delay.
The IPU is encouraging people to have common non-prescription medications for cold, fever and allergies on hand. People who require medication on a regular basis should also ensure their prescriptions are up to date. “We do not recommend, however, stockpiling medications in large quantities. This is completely unnecessary and could trigger drug shortages,” said the union.
“If and when there is a disruption in the supply of medications, pharmacists manage their stock carefully to ensure that all their patients can receive a quantity of the medication to meet their immediate needs. Unnecessary stockpiling of medication can create unintended shortages and puts other patients’ health at risk.
“If you have any concerns about your medications or if you are sick at home and in need of your medications, call your pharmacist. Many pharmacies may be able to offer a delivery service to help patients get their medications when they can’t leave their home.
“The IPU is committed to working with the Department of Health and the HSE to ensure that pharmacists across Ireland have the tools and resources to support their patients as we continue to respond to the Covid-19 outbreak.”
For the latest information and updates on Covid-19, see HSE.ie/coronavirus