Downtown Kamloops Pharmasave not impacted by drug shortage

Med supply not affected

The owner of the Pharmasave on Lansdowne says his store hasn't been significantly impacted by the drug shortage caused by COVID-19. 

Ongoing drug shortages are leaving pharmacies across the country to adjust to short shipments on the fly, according to the Canadian Pharmacists Association. The association first warned of the possibility of shortages in early March, when supply chains for ingredients and finished medications were disrupted by COVID-19 in China.

Clancy O'Malley, owner of the downtown Pharmasave, tells Castanet his inventory of medicine hasn't seen a shortage "to a huge extent." For pharmacies that have, it's a result of increased demand in medication and an overwhelmed distribution system, he says.

"Some places have seen up to a 200 per cent increase in prescription volume, which seems almost unimaginable," O'Malley says, likening it to the panic buying of toilet paper. "People are really afraid (of running out)."

He says the drug shortage isn't so much a lack of medication production; rather, it's distribution companies not being able to deliver product to pharmacies in pre-COVID-19 time frames.

"Wholesaling and distribution companies, they’re struggling with the same issues everyone else is. They have to have better safety (protocols); maybe they’re having to have less people working at the same time. They’re also dealing with a lot higher demands for everything right now. There’s an increased need for everything that consumers are buying," O'Malley explains.

For anyone worried about not getting their meds, don't be. O'Malley says if a pharmacy doesn't have something in stock, it will try to find it at another pharmacy.

He adds many of his customers have been understanding of the current situation.

"If you take time to explain to them why: 'It's not that we're out (of medication) necessarily, but if I give you enough of the puffers, in particular, to last you three months today, I'm not going to have enough tomorrow to give to somebody else,' people have been understanding in my experience."

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— with files from The Canadian Press

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