Nova Scotia pharmacies relaxing 30-day prescription measure for select medications amid COVID-19

Pharmacies in Nova Scotia can now provide prescriptions based on availability from manufacturers, according to a statement released by the Nova Scotia College of Pharmacists on Tuesday.

In April, health professionals announced that patients will be given no more than 30 days’ worth of prescription medication, unless a pharmacist deems more is necessary on a case-by-case basis, in an effort to prevent drug shortages during the novel coronavirus pandemic, which the college has been successful in doing so far.

“Pharmacies have been advised that they may begin dispensing prescription quantities as prescribed for medications that have a stable supply,” said the Nova Scotia College of Pharmacists.

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“However, as global disruption in the manufacturing and supply of drugs continues to impact Canada, some medications remain in short and unstable supply. For these drugs, pharmacies will continue to dispense a 30-day quantity,” the statement reads.

The NSCP said it will continue to carefully monitor the drug supply at provincial and national levels.

CEO and registrar of the NSCP Beverley Zwicker noted that the college anticipates additional impacts on drug supplies from manufacturing disruptions in China and India, which have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These countries are major suppliers of Canada’s drugs,” said Zwicker.

In the meantime, the NSCP is asking Nova Scotians to request refills only when they are needed and understand that reduced quantities may be necessary for some drugs so that no patients go without.

“No one in Nova Scotia should be without the medication they need. That’s why this measure was introduced, and that’s why we must continue to consider our individual and collective responsibility in protecting the province’s drug supply during COVID-19. We’re in this together,” said Zwicker.

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