Top 3 steps to prepare for a drug shortage caused by coronavirus

You might have read in the news that the coronavirus could potentially impact drug supplies, leading to a possible drug shortage. 

While it is difficult to predict the possible impact and the FDA is closely monitoring the situation, here are 3 easy steps you can take to prepare—just for peace of mind. 

#1: Buy extra refills of your generic prescription medications. 

If you take maintenance medications daily (like for chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression, etc), you might consider buying a 90-day supply (in other words, 3 months) of your prescription medications. This way you won’t have to worry about the possibility of a drug shortage. 

Not all pharmacies can give you a three month supply. Typically, traditional retail pharmacies that accept insurance often have restrictions that make you only get one month refills at a time. In order to get extra of your medications, you’ll most likely need to switch to a pharmacy that doesn’t use insurance. 

One example is Honeybee Health. Honeybee is a pharmacy that doesn’t work with insurance. Instead, you pay out-of-pocket for the cash price of your medications. The good news is that for generic prescription meds, this option is actually cheaper than if you use your insurance.

#2: Switch to an online pharmacy

In times of viral outbreaks, prevention is the best medicine. One useful method is to limit your contact with people who are potentially sick. This means avoiding areas where people crowd together—such as a line at the pharmacy. Instead, get your 90-day supply from an online pharmacy in order to limit social contact. Honeybee delivers medications to your door for free. 

#3: Buy extra over-the-counter meds

It’s a good idea to have certain flu and cold medications on hand since we are still in the middle of the flu season. Stock up on medications such as few suppressors, painkillers, decongestants, cough drops, cough suppressants, and flu medicines. 

Keep in mind that there may be limitations on what over the counter meds you can take depending on what chronic condition you may have. For example, patients with high blood pressure should also avoid NSAIDs, decongestants, and certain antacids. You can check with a pharmacist or doctor regarding over the counter meds and your specific chronic health condition to ensure there are no dangerous interactions and to find safe alternatives.

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Jessica Nouhavandi