**Source: Best Medicines Coalistion
April 17, 2020
In British Columbia, to support patients during the COVID-19 Pandemic, pharmacists have been given recommendations and new authority during the pandemic. See the summary below for new and existing pharmacy related supports. We encourage patients to check with their local pharmacists to inquire about their available supports.
Pharmacists are encouraged to exercise their existing authority to refill medications for patients receiving prescription medications for stable chronic conditions and existing authority provide emergency supply of needed medications. This reduces the need for a patient to visit with a physician in order to receive needed medications, the pharmacists can authorize a refill for more medications or provide an emergency supply if they have run out or need something they have been on before.
Pharmacists have been recommended that supply of drugs be reduced to 30 days supply for prescription medications in order to preserve supply of drugs since supplier channels have been reduced as a result of the pandemic. Actual supply of medications is up to the judgement of the pharmacist.
Pharmacists have been given the temporary authority to extend, renew, or transfer a prescription for a controlled substance as well as allow pharmacy employees to deliver a controlled substance (controlled substances include opiates like morphine and fentanyl as well as benzodiazepines such as lorazepam and oxazepam).
Some private payers recognize the need for a 30 days supply to preserve the supply of medications during this crisis, but some are not covering all the cost associated with a 30 day fill, similarly, not all private payers cover the costs associated with Emergency supplies. Some private payers are supporting this. Please click here for a summary of what is reported by some private payers.
With respect to Special Authority in BC:
BC PharmaCare is covering direct-acting oral anticoagulants (DOACs) for all patients newly starting anticoagulation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously, DOACs were a Limited Coverage Benefit under PharmaCare. New patients starting anticoagulation will be covered indefinitely. With BC PharmaCare, Drugs which have a limited duration on Special Authority will be extended, the pharmacists can check for patients without going to see the physician. For more information, please visit: www.bcpharmacy.ca