PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The coronavirus has affected almost every aspect of our lives, and that includes going to the pharmacy. Pharmacies are changing the way they do business.
At some independent pharmacies, you’ll be stopped at the door — all part of social distancing.
“The hand goes up, and it’s stop, and stop now,” said Castle Shannon pharmacist Dan Asti.
The staff meet customers at the door, then take prescriptions out to the customer’s car.
“You don’t have to worry about being close to somebody. So yeah, I rather prefer this,” a customer told KDKA’s Dr. Maria Simbra.
Deliveries are up, too.
“We are allowed to waive signatures at this point, so we can literally set medicine on the front porch, in the mailbox, wherever they ask,” said Asti. “And then we call the patient, saying it’s there.”
Inside, the staff maintain their own designated 6-foot space.
A separate staff works upstairs in the compounding lab, and in the long-term care pharmacy. Putting stuff in separate spaces allows the pharmacy to keep going if a whole department needs to stay home in quarantine.
“We do have limited hours,” said Asti. “We’ve cut it back from 8 o’clock to 6 o’clock. We now spend that time cleaning and disinfecting the pharmacy.”
“I feel safer for the kids who work here, because they’re coming to work every day, when they don’t have to,” said customers.
As for a run on certain drugs, such as hydroxychloroquine, this pharmacist won’t allow it.
“You need a diagnosis code on that prescription to get that drug,” he said. “We have an ample supply in our stock for our patients who are rheumatoid arthritis or lupus type patients. Even if the person wanted to pay cash for that prescription, we would not dispense it other than for the indicated use of that product.”
Another change: vaccines. Let’s say you’re due for your second shingles shot. Since you can’t go into the store now, the pharmacist will come out to your car, and give the shot there.