NS, NB pharmacies restrict medication fills to avoid shortages during COVID-19

Pharmacies in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are restricting access to medication to avoid drug shortages while the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps through the Maritimes.

On Wednesday, health professionals in both provinces announced that patients will be given no more than 30 days’ worth of prescription medication, unless a pharmacist deems more is necessary on a case-by-case basis.

“Pharmacists are considering the long-term needs of New Brunswickers and wish to ensure that medications are dispensed responsibly during this uncertain time,” reads a provincial government statement released Wednesday.

“Pharmacy practitioners should reassure patients that stockpiling is not necessary and it could
undermine their future supply of medication,” writes the Nova Scotia College of Pharmacists.

Cases of the novel coronavirus remain low in the Maritimes, but are rising steadily in all three provinces, with hundreds of test results still pending.

In Nova Scotia, there are 12 cases of COVID-19, three confirmed and nine presumptive. There are 11 cases in New Brunswick and one in Prince Edward Island.

Governments and pharmaceutical groups are asking local pharmacies to manage their inventories to avoid public stockpiling, reducing the risk that a patient will not be able to find the medication they need in the future.

“Requesting early refills unless absolutely necessary or stockpiling medications could create unintended drug shortages and put the health of other patients at risk,” according to the New Brunswick government.

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