In new survey, pharmacy patients seem highly concerned about coronavirus

According to a new survey release February 6 from the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), pharmacists seem split on how big a threat the new coronavirus is to the public. However, it’s a different story for their patients.

According to the results, which were based on 124 responses to a survey sent to 8,000 pharmacy owners and managers in early February, 54% of surveyed pharmacy owners said their patients are worried. 63% said their customers are buying surgical masks as a precaution, while 96% reported they’re selling masks faster than they can restock. Many pharmacists are also reporting shortages of hand sanitizers, surface sanitizers, and gloves.

On the other hand, 32% of pharmacists who participated in the survey said the new coronavirus is a significant public threat. Forty-two percent disagree, and 26% are unsure.

“The news coverage is clearly affecting consumer behavior,” said Brian Caswell, president of NCPA, in a press release. “Pharmacists are divided on whether the coronavirus is a serious health threat, but a strong majority of their customers are highly concerned.”

Caswell said it’s wise to be prepared, but Americans should not panic.

“The flu kills tens of thousands of Americans every year. Only a handful of Americans have been diagnosed with coronavirus in this country, and there are not yet any fatalities,” he stated in the press release. “Americans should remember to wash their hands frequently, avoid crowds if possible, and disinfect the things they touch. And if they have any questions, they should absolutely feel free to stop by the local pharmacy and talk to the pharmacist. That’s why we’re here.”