Updated: Oct 26, 2020
by Tetiana Kolodii
The global pandemic has impacted everyone. While nurses and doctors are fighting the COVID-19 battle, pharmacists are also fighting a battle and it is not just against the virus.
James Rico Jr., who has been a pharmacist for 10 years and worked for drug store chains like CVS and small businesses said, “I have never seen anything like that, ever in my life. Our workload is tremendous, and we are understaffed. Prescriptions keep pouring in and the phone never stops ringing.”
Currently, Rico works for a small pharmacy and says that he is pretty lucky because working for a big corporation during a world pandemic would be a disaster. His employer allows (staff) to lock the doors to prevent patients from walking in to eliminate their exposure to the virus and the pharmacy offers free delivery, but a number of people are still trying to go in.
“People keep calling asking for gloves, masks, and other protective gear. Some customers demand that we give away these items for free, not to mention how rude and disrespectful they can be. A lot of people who are trying to walk in the pharmacy do not understand why the doors are closed. We receive a lot of phone calls from patients asking to fill a six-month supply because their insurance covers it. People are hoarding medications just like they are hoarding groceries. I have to put my foot down and explain to them that there are other people who also need medications. A behavior like that is definitely creating medication shortages. We are currently on back order for Famotidine, Losartan, Calcium Acetate etc.,” Rico said.
A lot of people are moved by the media and are blindly accepting recommendations from individuals who are not qualified in medicine. While desperately trying to find cure for the coronavirus, people are willing to try anything, even Hydroxychloroquine – a drug used to treat Lupus and Malaria. According to Rico, a lot of people are trying to get the medicine, although, it has not been proven to defeat COVID-19. This may lead to a medication shortage and people who really need it, will not be able to get it. And on April 23, in his daily briefing, President Trump suggested ingesting disinfectant to treat people with the virus (Dale). This led pharmacies to get ready for customer looking for sanitizers and asking questions about how exactly it works.
Dale, Daniel, et al. “Fact Check: Trump Wrongly Suggests Sunlight Could Help Cure Coronavirus.” CNN, Cable News Network, 24 Apr. 2020, www.cnn.com/2020/04/23/politics/fact-check-coronavirus-briefing-april-23/index.html. Kolodii, Tetiana. “Pharmacies During Pandemic. An Interview with James Rico Jr. PharmD.” 20 Apr. 2020, Stamford.