This is Arman. He is a graduating medical student and certified pharmacist.
“I work at the outpatient pharmacy of a hospital that treats patients with cancer. We see that patients are coming to the hospital less and less. Patients were told by their doctors to stay home. We went from doing maybe 10 to 15 home prescription deliveries to closer to 100 a day. We really needed to rethink how we were going to deliver these medications to those who need them while making sure that the delivery itself wasn’t spreading the virus.
The other aspect of that is there are patients – immunocompromised patients – who still need to come to the hospital to receive their chemotherapy. Many patients have medications they take at home after their chemo and would often have visitors accompany them down to the pharmacy. When the visitor policy changed, patients now had to pick up these medications themselves alone. Many of the patients are quite frail. That was quite difficult, because we relied on the caregiver’s support to not just pick up the medication but to remember the details on how to take them.
We are still seeing a big impact of COVID on the drug supply.
My colleagues in the community have seen that within a day or two of the ‘benefit’ of hydroxychloroquine being announced, the drug went on backorder.
Many patients do still ask about it in the context of COVID. The problem is that this is an essential drug for many patients with rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. I’m pretty sure it’s still on backorder even though the evidence for it for COVID-19 is extremely questionable.”