Pharmacies Brace for Increased Refills Due to Coronavirus

March 17, 2020
Christine Blank
Christine Blank

Insurers, physicians, and others are advising patients with chronic conditions to ensure they have more than enough medication on hand. 

Drugstore chains and mail order pharmacies will likely have an influx of prescription refill requests as Americans are being urged to stock up on their prescription medications. 

Insurers, physicians, and others are advising Americans with chronic conditions such as diabetes to be sure they have more than enough medicine on hand, Reutersreported.1

CVS Health Corp said patients who typically pick up a 30-day prescription should consider changing that to 90 days, according to Reuters. Aetna patients who typically refill prescriptions every 30 days can extend that to a 90-day supply, CVS Health said.

Cigna Corp, which owns Express Scripts, is recommending that patients who currently receive a 30-day supply switch to a 90-day supply, spokeswoman Jennifer Luddy told Reuters.

The elderly and those with underlying health conditions should have medications for diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes on hand, along with OTC medicines and medical supplies to treat fever and other symptoms, said Nancy Messonnier, MD, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at CDC, said in a media briefing on Monday.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation said it was extending the usual 30-day refill time for antiretroviral treatment and other medications to 60 days even without medical provider approval, AHF Spokesman Ged Kenslea told Reuters.

“Typically for say a month or 2 you should have access to medicines, and any basic essentials that you might need to leave the house for,” said Neha Nanda, MD, medical director of infection prevention and antimicrobial stewardship with Keck Medicine of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, according to Reuters.

References:

1. Beasley D, Humer C. Doctors, and insurers too, urge patients to get medicine on hand. Reuters. Published March 13, 2020. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-prescriptions/doctors-and-insurers-too-urge-patients-to-get-medicine-on-hand-idUSKBN210382.