The temporary 30-day medication supply
Since our last message regarding the temporary 30-day medication supply recommendation to pharmacists in Newfoundland & Labrador, we have heard and are aware of the challenges associated with this decision. The COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges globally, all of which have serious impacts on our lives.
The 30-day medication supply is in place because every patient deserves equal access to an already limited medication supply. This recommendation is not specific to our province. Globally, manufacturers are experiencing a spike in demand. This combined with COVID-19 government lockdowns and transportation restraints have created challenges in production and shipment of medications. Due to the uncertainty of supply, pharmacy leaders have to make tough decisions in order to prevent patients from having to go without essential medications in the foreseeable future.
Dispensing fees are not within NLPB’s control. While we have no control over dispensing fees, we are not insensitive to the costs associated with having to fill a prescription no matter what the quantity is. A dispensing fee is a professional fee that a pharmacy charges each time a prescription is filled. The cost can differ with geographical location, and it covers the process of dispensing a medication–including checking for drug therapy problems and ensuring the accuracy of medications. The amount a patient pays can also depend on specifications of an insurance plan.
Meanwhile, the Government of Newfoundland & Labrador (Gov NL) has advised that the NL Prescription Drug Program (NLPDP) will only charge a co-payment to beneficiaries of the 65 Plus Plan and Foundation Plan for their initial 30-day prescription fill or refill to offset their costs. See the official NLPDP bulletin.
Pharmacies are adapting to the new COVID-19 reality so that your risk of exposure is limited. Governments across the country are asking the public to reduce their risk of exposure to COVID-19, and so how does that align with the 30-day supply recommendation? Similar to other essential service providers such as grocery stores, pharmacies are changing the way they provide services to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Contact your pharmacy to determine the safest medication pick-up method available to you. Some pharmacies are offering delivery, curbside pick-up or reduced traffic in the pharmacy for scheduled pick-up.
As mentioned, this recommendation is a temporary measure that is being monitored closely and will be revised once medication supplies stabilize. We ask for your patience, understanding and cooperation as we navigate through this pandemic. We ask that you keep in mind that this decision is in place for the greater good of all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.
Together, we will get through this.
- NLPB COVID-19 Guidance for the Public
- Letter addressed to the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) from the Canadian Association for Pharmacy Distribution Management (CAPDM) on April 3, 2020.
- It is so important that we all work together to protect the medication supply for all Canadians. Video created by the Canadian Pharmacists Association.
About the Newfoundland & Labrador Pharmacy Board
The Newfoundland & Labrador Pharmacy Board continues to build on over 100 years of pharmacy practice regulation within Newfoundland & Labrador. Our actions are carefully made in accordance with our mandate to protect the public’s health interest within the province.