Assist Your Patients During a Disaster

Recent wildfires, hurricanes, and earthquakes have 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 avoid scrambling to get their meds filled if a disaster hits.

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

Be aware that, if an emergency is declared in your state, you'll usually be allowed to fill an emergency Rx...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. Use your professional judgment and your state's PDMP when emergency filling controlled meds.

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.

Be ready with alternatives if you can't get certain meds due to supply issues. For example, consider an IR instead of ER product...or a different med in the same class. Use our comparison charts for help.

For more practical tips, get our CE, Disaster Preparedness & Emergency Response...and our cheat sheet, Dealing With Disasters.

Key References

  • MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2017;66(37):995-8
Pharmacist's Letter. Nov 2017, No. 331104

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