Coronavirus: Canadian drug wholesaler restricting medicine shipments during COVID-19 pandemic

Andrew Forgione, a spokesperson for the drug wholesaler McKesson, said the company was working with pharmacies, hospitals and manufacturing partners to promote responsible ordering and distribution during the novel coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19 outbreak.

“In recent days, we’ve taken proactive steps to support responsible ordering, including temporarily adjusting daily customer ordering for some medications and certain daily essentials,” Forgione said via email.

“It is unnecessary for Canadian consumers or retailers to mass order products. We encourage patients and customers to refill maintenance medications and seek healthcare essentials in a responsible manner to avoid unnecessary strain on the system.”

Tammi Hanowski, a pharmacist, told Global News it’s a very smart idea and that no one will have any problem getting the medicine they need — if they only get what they need.

“Don’t panic. You do not need more than one month of medication on hand.”

Hanowski said people should only collect the regular amount of any prescription medication they need while preparing to go into quarantine or self-isolation because of the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 outbreak.

“We’re an essential service. Medications are going to be available to people,” she said on the phone from Cheetham’s Pharmacy in Saskatoon.

Hanowski said someone hoarding medication could prevent someone else from getting a vital prescription.

“We’ve seen it already with supplies — toilet paper, hand sanitizer and masks. These are things that should be out there for patients who really need them.”

Hanowski said the supplier had put restrictions in place, but not because there is a lack of medicine.

It’s to ensure that no person or persons — or pharmacy — is hoarding medication.

Loblaws, the parent company of Shopper’s Drug Mart, said in a statement that it hadn’t imposed restrictions but does encourage people to speak to their doctors about how much medication they need to have on hand.

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