APhA issues medication supply guidance for patients and caregivers

As part of its ongoing efforts to help patients and pharmacists cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, APhA has released guidance for patients and caregivers on how to ensure adequate supplies of medication if they become unable to get to the pharmacy.

The guidance recommends that

  • Patients and caregivers talk to their pharmacist about medication supply concerns. Hoarding or stockpiling, APhA warns, is not necessary and could lead to drug shortages.
  • Patients and caregivers contact their health insurance plan, associated pharmacy benefit manager, or both to determine if benefits include early refills—normally the patient or pharmacy would contact the prescriber when refills are needed—or supply limits.
  • Patients and caregivers inquire about delivery options if picking up prescriptions at the pharmacy becomes prohibitive. Delivery options could include designating another person to pick up the prescription, getting home delivery, or receiving prescriptions by mail.
  • Patients and caregivers prepare for difficulties picking up OTC medications by keeping a supply adequate to treat symptomatic medication needs.
  • Patients and caregivers ask pharmacists or prescribers questions about medication supply or shortages and alternative therapies, if necessary.

The guidance includes a reminder of the importance of patients and caregivers being able to maintain a relationship with their pharmacist and to choose where and how they obtain their prescription and nonprescription medications.

Among other efforts, APhA is also advocating for payers to relax restrictions on supply or early refills.