COVID-19 impact on pharmacies

Date: 11 January 2023

COVID-19 triggered a dramatic decline in operations for many businesses, but pharmacies were not among them, a report in the US publication Pharmacy Times states.

The report says when social distancing and shelter-in-place orders closed the doors on non-essential businesses, pharmacies found themselves being utilised in new ways to provide expanded and enhanced care to their clients.

“Those new services are now core community pharmacy models that are fundamentally changing the part pharmacy plays in health care for the better.

“Increased accessibility was one of the key enhancements that occurred in pharmacies during the pandemic. Many patients were reluctant to risk exposure to the virus by coming into pharmacies to pick up their medications.

“To address these concerns, pharmacies began providing more accessible options, such as kerb bside pickup and delivery services. Updating pharmacy management platforms to allow for virtual queues and mobile availability was another step that pharmacies took to address their clients’ safety concerns.”

The Pharmacy Times report also found that in addition to increasing the ways in which patients could access pharmacy services, the pandemic also led pharmacies to increase the number of services that they were providing.

“Community pharmacies became one of the main locations for COVID vaccines once they became more broadly available.

“This cast pharmacies into a role that they had not traditionally played, but one that they were well equipped to carry out.”

The pandemic also highlighted the important role that pharmacists play in dispensing information.

A survey conducted in 2021 revealed that throughout the pandemic, patients continued to prefer their local pharmacist to obtaining medication via mail order.

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Page last updated on: 11 January 2023