BC Wildfires: Unanticipated Pharmacy Closures
Historically high temperatures and low precipitation in BC over the past month continue to cause significant increase in the wildfire danger rating across the province. As of Monday, August 16, the B.C. Wildfire Services reports close to 270 wildfires currently burning across BC.
With thousands of properties still under evacuation orders, pharmacy managers are reminded of their responsibility to notify the registrar in the event of an unanticipated pharmacy closure, as outlined in both the College’s Temporary Pharmacy Closure Policy and Section 18(2)(dd) of the Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act (PODSA) Bylaws.
Registrants are also reminded that patients who have been displaced by an evacuation can visit a pharmacy to access an emergency supply of medications they may need. Under the College’s Emergency Supply for Continuity of Care policy, pharmacists may use their professional judgement to determine if they can safely provide patients with an emergency supply.
Unanticipated Pharmacy Closures
The need for an unanticipated pharmacy closure may arise in unforeseeable situations where, for instance, a state of emergency has been declared, or evacuations orders have been issued, and the pharmacy becomes temporarily inaccessible to the public.
Professional Practice Policy – 46: Temporary Pharmacy Closures (PPP-46), as well as Section 18(2)(dd) of the PODSA Bylaws, outlines what’s expected of pharmacy managers in the event that they are faced with an unanticipated closure of their pharmacy.
Professional Practice Policy 46: Temporary Pharmacy Closures
This policy sets out requirements for pharmacy managers on complying with their responsibility under the Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act (“PODSA”) Bylaws sections 18(2)(cc)(i) and 18(2)(dd)(i) as related to notification of anticipated and unanticipated pharmacy closures.
NOTIFICATION PROCEDURES FOR UNANTICIPATED PHARMACY CLOSURES:
As outlined in PODSA Bylaws section 18(2)(dd)(i), pharmacy managers must notify the registrar of closures. The following notification procedures must be followed:
In addition to the notification procedures outlined above, in the event of an unanticipated pharmacy closure, the pharmacy manager must also fulfill the following requirements as outlined in Section 18(2)(dd) of the PODSA Bylaws:
In the event of an unanticipated temporary closure due to unforeseen circumstances, which is permitted for no more than 90 days,
Providing Continuity of Care for Patients during a State of Emergency
Professional Practice Policy 31 – Emergency Supply for Continuity of Care outlines what’s expected of pharmacists in providing emergency supplies of medication for continuity of care for patients during a state of emergency.
Pharmacists are required to use their professional judgement, thoroughly document any medications they provide and communicate with the patient’s prescriber as soon as possible.
PharmaNet also plays an important role in supporting continuity in care by allowing a pharmacist to review a patient’s prescriptions and medication history regardless of what pharmacy a patient typically uses.
Professional Practice Policy-31: Emergency Supply for Continuity of Care
This policy provides guidance to pharmacists when providing patients with an emergency supply of prescription drugs for continuity of care in exceptional circumstances in accordance with the Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act (“PODSA”) Bylaws section 19(7)(d).
A pharmacist may exercise professional judgment to provide a patient with an emergency supply of prescription drugs for continuity of care using the following principles:
For additional information and guidance on how to prepare for an emergency, please visit:
For questions related to providing continuity of care for patients during a state of emergency, contact the College’s practice support at email@example.com.
Pharmacists and patients can also contact the First Nations Health Authority at 1-800-317-7878 to verify patient identification information and for NIHB billing purposes.