Accessing Medications You May Need During a State of Emergency

Accessing Medications You May Need During a State of Emergency

Earthquakes, floods, tsunamis and wildfires are just some of the potential hazards in BC.

Medical records may be difficult to access during a disaster. If you rely on a prescription, talk to your primary health care provider or pharmacist about how to keep an extra supply or valid prescription in your emergency kit and grab and go bags.

If you have been displaced by an evacuation, you can also visit a pharmacy near you to access an emergency supply of medications you may need. The College’s Find a Pharmacy tool can help you locate a pharmacy in the community where you are staying.

To learn more about how to prepare for an emergency, visit gov.bc.ca/PreparedBC.

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.

Learn how to make PharmaCare claims for patients affected by an emergency

See information for from PharmaCare on Patient Care During States of Emergency and Evacuations.

Participating in Local Emergency Management Plans

In BC, local governments lead the initial response to emergencies and disasters in their communities.

Pharmacy managers should reach out to the Emergency Program Coordinator for their community to ensure they are aware of and participate in local plans.

Learn more about Local Authority Emergency Management Programs in BC.

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-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).

POLICY STATEMENTS:

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:

  1. Individual competence: The pharmacist has appropriate knowledge and understanding of the condition and the drug being dispensed for emergency supply;
  2. Sufficient information: The pharmacist has sufficient information about the patient’s health status to determine that dispensing an emergency supply is appropriate in the given circumstances;
  3. Appropriate quantity: The pharmacist should determine an appropriate quantity of the emergency supply based on what is reasonable in the given circumstances, and based on the drug involved;
  4. Informed consent: The pharmacist has obtained the patient’s or the patient representative’s informed consent before undertaking an emergency supply;
  5. Documentation: The pharmacist responsible for making the decision to provide an emergency supply should:
    1. document in the patient’s record the rationale for the decision and any appropriate follow-up plan;
    2. ensure the PharmaNet dispensing record includes the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia pharmacist registration number in the practitioner ID field to identify the pharmacist responsible for the decision; and
  6. Notification of other health professionals: Where possible and appropriate, the pharmacist should notify the practitioner in a timely fashion and should make a record of this in the patient’s record. 
Questions

For questions related to providing continuity of care for patients during a state of emergency, contact the College’s practice support at practicesupport@bcpharmacists.org

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.

Resources

Emergency Info BC

Emergency Info BC is the Provinces hub for disaster information. Visit their website and follow them on Twitter for the latest active provincial emergency information.

Flooding

Wildfire

Earthquakes and Tsunami

Avalanche

Weather

First Nations and Aboriginal People

Emergency Preparedness

Roads