The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how important it is for the population to be able to purchase their medication thanks to an efficient and accessible network. With over 1,900 service points across Québec’s territory, community pharmacies are playing a key role during this crisis, providing not only medication but also certain clinical services to the population.

As such, the population will need to take the necessary measures to help pharmacies maintain their service offer, in compliance with the public health guidelines issued by the government. To this end, in order to protect the population and pharmacy employees as well as help pharmacists in their work, here are a few recommendations for our patients:

  • If you have any questions related to COVID-19 or if you have symptoms similar to those caused by the COVID-19 virus (fever, coughing, breathing difficulties), do not visit your pharmacy and call the following number: 1 877 644-4545.
  • If you are unable to speak to anyone at this number, the Ministry of Health and Social Services has also compiled coronavirus-related information in a special section of its website. You can learn more by clicking here (In French only).
    Explore these two options before calling your pharmacist.

Precautions to take BEFORE going to the pharmacy:

  • Call before going to your pharmacy or use the online renewal service to fill your prescriptions.
    • Use this opportunity to renew any other prescription you might need in the coming days. If you need any over-the-counter medication, order them at the same time as your prescription drugs.
  • If you are healthy, have your prescriptions drugs prepared, and schedule with your pharmacy’s team the time when you should come pick up your order.
    • Follow your pharmacist’s instructions as to the time needed before your medication is ready. Given the current situation, this may take more time than usual.
  • If you are in isolation or if you are among vulnerable populations (ex.: individuals aged 70 and over), call the pharmacy to find out if delivery services are available. Let your pharmacy know that you are in isolation and inform them of your state of health (ex.: symptoms, diagnosis). Your pharmacist will then be able to give the appropriate recommendations to their delivery person and you will be able to make arrangements for the payment.
    • In certain cases, if delivery is impossible, call your pharmacy from your car and an employee will bring your order to your car.
  • When visiting a medical clinic, ask your doctor to fax your prescription to your pharmacist.
  • Should an appointment with your doctor be cancelled, keep in mind that new rules allow your pharmacist to renew most prescriptions. Check with your pharmacist before going to your pharmacy.

Precautions to take ONCE YOU ARE IN the pharmacy:

  • Wash your hands before and after going to the pharmacy.
  • Maintain a distance of at least 1 metre (3 feet) from other people in the pharmacy, including the pharmacy’s staff.
  • Only go to the pharmacy to meet essential needs. If you need to go, go by yourself. Do not come with elderly people or children.
  • To ensure equitable access to medication, your pharmacist could limit your supply of drugs to 30 days. This is a directive from the Ordre des pharmaciens and the Ministry of Health.
  • Purchases should be paid with your credit card or debit card, not in cash.
  • For the time being, do not bring your labels to help with the preparation of your medication or any used vials. Also, you can keep your expired pharmaceuticals in a secure location at home, and bring them back to your pharmacy once the crisis is over.
  • For the time being, do not bring paper coupons to your pharmacy. Keep them at home for later use.
  • Pharmacists are tackling a greater workload than usual, and with fewer employees. Instead of coming to the pharmacy to discuss general health issues or your medication, we recommend that you call your pharmacist, unless there is an emergency. Wait time may be longer than usual. Should that occur, don’t hesitate to leave your contact information and a member of the pharmacist’s staff will call you back as soon as they can.
  • Finally, we want to remind you of the usual hygiene measures: when coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a paper tissue. Throw it out and wash your hands thoroughly. If you do not have a paper tissue, cough and sneeze in the crook of your elbow or on your upper arm.

In all cases, patients must always notify their pharmacist of their state of health so that appropriate protective measures are put in place.

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