by Juan Lopez, PharmD, FIACP
Patients should be reassured that actions have been taken by state and federal officials to empower pharmacists and utilize pharmacy services for the benefit and protection of the public health.
Emergency Order – Maintenance Medication for Chronic Conditions
On Monday, March 9, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis declared a State of Emergency for the state of Florida in response to the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Under the State of Emergency, a pharmacist may dispense up to a 30-day supply of maintenance medication for a chronic condition provided that the medication is essential to the maintenance of life or to the continuation of therapy in a chronic condition; or in the pharmacist’s professional judgment, the interruption of therapy might reasonably produce undesirable health consequences or may cause physical or mental discomfort. Pharmacists are required to create a written order and notify the patients’ prescriber of the emergency dispensing within a reasonable time. This emergency order does not extend to medications listed as Schedule II controlled substances.
Hand Sanitizer Shortage
Consumers and health care professionals have experienced difficulties obtaining alcohol-based hand sanitizers. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received a number of queries concerning compounding of alcohol-based hand sanitizers due to shortages. On March 14, 2020 the FDA announced it will take no enforcement action against pharmacists who prepare alcohol-based hand sanitizers during the current public health emergency. The FDA has issued guidance to communicate its policy and requirements for the temporary compounding of certain alcohol-based hand sanitizer products by pharmacists in State-licensed pharmacies, Federal facilities, or registered outsourcing facilities. Compounding pharmacists are trained and well qualified to prepare hand sanitizer products. This action empowers compounders to serve their communities in this time of shortage.
The FDA has confirmed with the Alliance for Pharmacy Compounding (APC) that a patient-specific prescription is not required while this temporary guidance is in effect.
As patients are looking for ways to “flatten the curve” through social distancing, pharmacy delivery and curbside pick-up are becoming popular services offered to further this effort. Ask your pharmacy provider if your medication order can be delivered directly to your home via delivery or shipping services.
Pharmacists are a readily accessible health care resource and are only a phone call away. If you have questions about your medication therapy, options available to you in case of a drug shortage, or what you can be doing for immune support, please give the pharmacy a call.
For more information, please call the pharmacy at 407-260-7002.
- Florida Board of Pharmacy. Gov. Desantis Declares A State Of Emergency In FL In Response To COVID-19. [online] Floridaspharmacy.gov. Available at: https://floridaspharmacy.gov/latest-news/gov-desantis-declares-state-of-emergency-in-florida-in-response-to-covid-19/ [Accessed 19 March 2020].
- Florida Statutes – 465.0275 Emergency prescription refill [online] Available at: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0400-0499/0465/Sections/0465.0275.html [Accessed 19 March 2020].
- Alliance for Pharmacy Compounding (APC). APC ALERT: FDA allows compounders to prepare hand sanitizers during emergency [electronic communication] March 14, 2020.
- Alliance for Pharmacy Compounding (APC). APC ALERT: More on hand sanitizers — and telling your story [electronic communication] March 16, 2020.
- Policy for Temporary Compounding of Certain Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer Products During the Public Health Emergency Immediately in Effect Guidance for Industry. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Food and Drug Administration Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). March 2020.