Assist Your Patients During a Disaster

Recent wildfires, hurricanes, and earthquakes will put the spotlight on how you can help your patients weather natural disasters.

Follow your state laws, pharmacy policies, and common sense.

Encourage patients to try to have an adequate supply of meds...to avoid scrambling to get their meds filled if a disaster hits.

Help patients update med lists. Suggest using our handout, My Medication List...or downloading phone apps or taking pictures of Rx labels...in case patients are displaced and need to use another pharmacy.

Be aware that, if an emergency is declared in your state, filling emergency Rxs will usually be allowed...typically for a 7- to 30-days' supply...if the patient's prescriber or pharmacy can't be reached.

Many states also allow you to emergency fill Schedule III, IV, and V Rxs during a state of emergency...but not C-IIs.

If patients don't have their Rx labels or med lists, try contacting their regular pharmacy, prescriber's office, or insurance company.

For early-refill insurance rejects, use the override code "13"...this designates an override is needed due to a disaster.

Get your pharmacist involved if you can't get certain meds due to supply issues. They may suggest an IR instead of ER product in certain cases...or a different med in the same class. Give your pharmacist any comparison chart they need from our website.

Demonstrate patience and empathy during this time. Disasters can create chaos...and being calm and understanding can go a long way.

For more on helping your patients and pharmacy before and after a disaster, get our cheat sheet, Dealing With Disasters...plus our special report, Disaster Preparedness & Emergency Response.

Key References

  • MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2017;66(37):995-8
  • www.ncpdp.org/Resources/Emergency-Preparedness
Pharmacy Technician's Letter. Nov 2017, No. 331104



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