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Coronavirus: Canadian drug wholesaler takes steps to prevent hoarding during COVID-19 pandemic

Pharmacist urges people not to hoard medicine during coronavirus outbreak
WATCH: A pharmacist says people should not stock up on medication to ensure there is enough for everyone.

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.

READ MORE: Canadians ‘do not need to panic’ about food shortages amid COVID-19, experts say

“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.”

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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.

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“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.

“It’s important [people] do not stock up because [the public’s] reaction to the situation is what’s going to cause an issue.”

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

READ MORE: Coronavirus: B.C. declares public health emergency amid 3 new deaths and 83 new cases

“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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