President of the Caribbean Association of Pharmacists (CAP) Dr. Marvin Smith yesterday said local and regional retail pharmacists are fully stocked with resources to help residents prepare for coronavirus (COVID-19).
He said across the region, CAP has been communicating with its members to update them about general protocols and how they can manage patients who are dealing with suspected symptoms in terms of either the delivery or collection of their medication.
So far, the only countries in the region to have cases of the coronavirus are Cuba, Jamaica, St. Martin, Dominican Republic, St. Barthelemy and Martinique.
“As it relates to pharmacists and what they are able to supply, a number of our pharmacy partners have been able to supply protective gloves and masks throughout the region. You’ll see that even here in The Bahamas, pharmacies – if they are able to get those particular items – are stocking them. Hand sanitizer is flying off the shelves like everywhere else and those types of things. It’s kind of scary, I was wondering what people used to do in terms of hygiene before,” he told Guardian Business.
“I think from our end as an association and our retail pharmacies, we’ve said to them to try to find alternative ways to get supplies and prescriptions out to your patients rather than have them come into [your establishment], if and at the point that the COVID-19 virus becomes an issue here.
“We actually have in The Bahamas a concierge pharmacy that does deliver medicines and that particular pharmacist has been doing it for a number of years.
“So we’ve highlighted some of these things for them to be able to look at and to speak as an association, as the member association for different countries, to really look at some different options if and when this becomes an issue.”
As for the stockpile of resources in the region to treat some of the symptoms of coronavirus – like fever, cough and body aches – Smith said he doesn’t foresee a shortage.
“I really don’t foresee that. Keep in mind that these are medications that would generally be used to manage regular influenza. We’re in that season in any event, so these companies would have already known what flu season brings and this is the basic needs that we have and what we will need to produce,” he said.
“So those particular items are already on the market and we shouldn’t have any issues. We certainly haven’t seen any difficulty in sourcing them and I haven’t heard anything from our partners throughout the region on that.
“The best thing we can say to our customers is, if you feel like you are not doing well and you feel like you are experiencing flu symptoms, call your local pharmacy and say to them that you need to get your meds, you’re experiencing these symptoms, how can you help me? And we will find a way. Our pharmacists here and throughout the region are very resourceful and we care about our patients.”