Pharmacy Heroes: Team in Italy Perseveres, Helps Nearly 1000 Patients A Day During Pandemic

"We are trying to stay strong, and we couldn’t cope with this situation if it wasn’t for our deep team connection.”

Today we’re thanking a team of pharmacists in Italy: Cristina D’Ottavio, PharmD, RPh, MS; Ida Cananzi, PharmD, RPh, MS; Vanni Semeraro, PharmD, RPh; Giovanna Palmieri, PharmD, RPh; and Federica Barbuti. Their team has been working in a 24/7 pharmacy without sufficient safety equipment, according to D’Ottavio.

D’Ottavio said they admit only 7 or 8 patients at a time while others wait outside, but she added that there can be up to 60 people waiting to enter the pharmacy at any time. At the end of each day, D’Ottavio estimated that they help more than 1000 patients.

“The problem is we are not provided with any sort of protection device,” she said. “We are using the same masks [for] weeks, [and] we are only provided with new gloves daily. We are trying to stay strong, and we couldn’t cope with this situation if it wasn’t for our deep team connection.”

D’Ottavio added that policymakers and the public need to remember that pharmacists can also be at risk, and precautions such as keeping 6 feet away still apply in the pharmacy.

“We are pharmacists, we are not superheroes,” she said. “We can get ill, too. Please, show respect. Stay at least 1 meter [away] from us. Don’t go to the pharmacy if you have symptoms or if you don’t need life-saving medications. All the rest can wait.”