COVID-19 Guidance for Pharmacies
Top 10 Things You Can Do to Prepare
The Arkansas Department of Health and Arkansas Pharmacists Association strongly recommends that all pharmacies take the following actions:
- Use calming and reassuring language when patients ask for information.
- Have a fact sheet available to answer questions from patients on prescription refills, emergency supplies, payer coverage of medications, and other Rx-related information.
- Encourage patients to have appropriate medications on hand to treat viral symptoms, so they will not have to go out if they develop COVID-19.
- Establish a process for older adults, pregnant women, and individuals with chronic health conditions to obtain medications without waiting in line such as utilizing pharmacy drive-through window option or medication delivery service if available.
- Report unusual patient complaints, surges in symptoms of fever, cough, or respiratory distress, or surges in sales volumes of cold and flu medications, over-the-counter painkillers, or hand sanitizer.
- Implement infection control procedures, especially for clinic waiting areas:
- Provide a mask to customers who are coughing or sneezing.
- Make sure staff maintain a distance of 3 feet from asymptomatic patients and at least 6 feet from those actively coughing.
- Regularly clean and disinfect counters, waiting areas, and other spaces where public interaction occurs with an EPA-approved disinfectant. Clean at least every hour or after every 10 patients, whichever is more frequent.
- Place alcohol-based hand sanitizer next to the checkout window so people can sanitize their hands after using common items, like the pen used to sign for prescriptions.
- Monitor all staff for sickness regularly. Take temperatures once per shift and send them home if they have symptoms of a respiratory infection.
- Update sick leave policies to place employees on sick leave if a family member is sick and to develop a post-illness return-to-work procedure.
- Take recommended actions for unprotected exposures (e.g., not using recommended personal protective equipment, an unrecognized infectious patient contact).
- Know your active standing orders, collaborative practice agreements, and memorandums of understanding. Know the most up to date timelines on when you may be receiving certain capabilities or products (vaccines, therapeutics, testing).
ADH has activated a call center to answer questions from health care providers and the public about the novel coronavirus. During normal business hours (8:00am – 4:30pm, Monday - Friday), urgent and non-urgent calls, please call 1-800-803-7847. After normal business hours, urgent calls needing immediate response, please call 1-800-554-5738.
- Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy Recommendations
- WSPA Guidance to Pharmacy Practitioners for Safe Practice During COVID-19 Outbreak
- Coronavirus Disease 2019 Hospital Preparedness Tool
- ASHP Resource Information
- CDC Fact Sheet for COVID-19
- Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy Law Book, Pharmacy Practices Act, July 2019, A.C.A. 17-92-102, regarding emergency refill
- Arkansas Department of Health Link for COVID-19 Information
- Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy, Current FAQ regarding Pharmacy Procedures
- Arkansas Checklist Adapted from the Ohio Department of Health