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Coronavirus: Saskatchewan government lifting supply limits on prescription drugs

The Saskatchewan government is lifting the supply limits on prescription drugs that were introduced to guard against drug shortages as of May 20.
The Saskatchewan government is lifting the supply limits on prescription drugs that were introduced to guard against drug shortages as of May 20. Elise Amendola / AP Photo

The Saskatchewan government says it is lifting supply limits on prescription drugs introduced to guard against drug shortages during the coronavirus pandemic.

As of May 20, residents in the province with prescriptions for long-term medications will be allowed to fill those as was usual before the pandemic.

There are exceptions if a specific drug is in short supply.

“As we navigate the unknowns presented by COVID-19, ensuring the availability of medications for all Saskatchewan residents is a priority,” Health Minister Jim Reiter said.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Canadians warned not to stockpile medicine beyond 30-day supply

“Today, the drug supply is in a more stable position due to the actions of pharmacists, patients and other stakeholders in response to the prescription limits.  We sincerely thank them for their support and understanding.”

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The pandemic caused significant shortages of certain drugs across the country, leaving Saskatchewan to limit supply, while at the same time ensuring patients have continued access to medication.

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Saskatchewan was one of many places in the country that limited prescription refills to one month in an effort to prevent stockpiling.

“We continue to support the Ministry of Health’s careful management through this challenge to ensure Saskatchewan residents get the medications they need,” said Pharmacy Association of Saskatchewan CEO Dawn Martin.

READ MORE: COVID-19 hasn’t affected Canada’s drug supply yet, but experts are watching

“Front-line pharmacists work hard every day for their patients, and will continue to do so through this difficult and unpredictable time.”

Saskatchewan College of Pharmacy Professionals says it supports the province’s decision to lift supply limits.

“As a result of these measures, the drug supply chain has stabilized; however, it remains critical for pharmacists to ensure they are being stewards of the drug supply to ensure all Saskatchewan residents can continue to receive the medications they need,” said Saskatchewan College of Pharmacy Professionals registrar Jeana Wendel.

Saskatchewan says drug supply is being actively monitored at federal and provincial levels as the coronavirus pandemic evolves.

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COVID-19: Do front line health workers have enough medical supplies?
COVID-19: Do front line health workers have enough medical supplies?

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.