Renewing medications during the pandemic: The 30-day limit

Although it’s tempting to stock up on your medications during this time of distancing, drug renewals are limited to 30 days. Here’s why.

The truth about the current situation

Having enough of your prescription medications at home is important if you have to stay confined because of the coronavirus, so it’s normal to want to be prepared.

But is stocking up a good idea?

There are many alarmist messages in the media. It’s often recommended that you renew your prescriptions ’to avoid running out, and even that you ask your pharmacist for a two- or three-month supply.

Some publications are also suggesting that, since many of the raw materials used to make drugs come from China, a country hard hit by the coronavirus, we should be concerned.

The truth is that there are currently no warning signs of a global drug shortage. It’s easy to become anxious, especially when it comes to life-saving drugs, but the situation is being carefully studied, so there is no need to panic.

Quantity limits on drugs: Why your pharmacist must respect them

Public authorities have decided to limit prescription refills to protect the public. The directive is clear: for the time being, the maximum amount pharmacists may prescribe is a 30-day’ supply.

As with any rule, however, there are exceptions for certain situations. Consult your pharmacist for more information.


What would the risks be if such a measure did not exist?

The greatest risk, of course, would be shortages. If many people were stockpiling drugs at the same time, it could create what are known as artificial shortages. This could potentially limit access to certain critical drugs, leaving many people vulnerable. Limiting the number of doses prescribed per person reduces this risk.

Below are some of the additional risks to dispensing large quantities of drugs at a time:

Storage may not be optimal, thus affecting the effectiveness and safety of the drug.

Unused doses could be wasted if an individual’s prescription changes.

The risk of a medication accident (e.g., a child or pet accidentally ingesting a toxic quantity of a drug) increases.


The solutions available to you

If you are voluntarily isolating at home or quarantined due to a COVID-19 infection, you should know that there are solutions if you’re concerned about running out of medication. For example, the vast majority of pharmacies offer delivery services. You can have your prescription drugs delivered directly to your door, so you never have to leave your home.

The most important thing is to act reasonably and think of the common good. Although we are dealing with an extraordinary situation, we must not give in to panic and let fear bring about another collective problem.

Are you used to renewing your medication for more than a month at a time? You’ll be able to do so again once the global health situation has returned to normal.

If you would like more information on pharmacy delivery services or the current situation, don’t hesitate to talk to your pharmacist. They’ll be happy to help you!


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Renewing medications during the pandemic: The 30-day limit

Self-isolation and quarantine go hand in hand with preparation. Yet, your drug refills are limited to 30 days in Quebec. Find out why.
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