Navigating Medication Safety During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic
Pharmacy Times® spoke with Nancy Globus, PharmD, vice president of regulatory affairs at the Accreditation Council for Medical Affairs, about how the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has affected medication safety concerns. Globus also uses social media to advocate for the pharmacy profession and spread tips for pharmacists, on her Twitter account @MedSafetyGal.
One of the largest issues that will be ongoing is drug shortages. Globus said that as pharmacists are forced to use replacement products or different products than they are accustomed to, the possibility for error is amplified. Taking the time to double check labels and measurements is vital to ensure patient safety.
Providing care in the at-home environment also poses some concerns for safety, Globus said, especially for treatments that would have previously been given in a clinic or hospital. When counseling and caring for patients in this situation, Globus said pharmacists should encourage patients and caretakers to advocate for themselves and ask questions about the treatment, just as the pharmacist would ask the prescriber if there was a concern.
Finally, Globus said pharmacists have a real opportunity during the pandemic to emphasize their accessibility and impact on patient lives. Patients feel more comfortable at a pharmacy than at a hospital or a clinic, Globus said, and pharmacists should take advantage of their role as community members and health care professionals.