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Medication Access During COVID-19

Access to medications is critical for many, and there can be severe health consequences if someone suddenly stops taking a prescribed medication. Changes and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 can make it difficult to know what to do to make sure you have access to needed medications. Here are some tips and pieces of information to help you prepare and care for yourself or your loved ones:

  • Check in with your doctor about how they want you to plan for the future. Inquire about telehealth options.
  • If you use long acting injectables, ask your provider for their guidance on where you can continue to receive medication. Don’t wait until you need your next dose.
  • If you don’t have medication changes, your doctor might feel comfortable calling in refills to get you through periods of social distancing.
  • Many doctors and therapists are now offering telephone or video-based sessions that may be covered by your insurance provider. If it is not covered by insurance, check in with your provider to ask about options.
  • If you need a refill but can’t see your psychiatrist, you can try telepsychiatry through organizations like this one. The cost of visits changes depending on the provider.
  • Prescribers may be able to support individuals in obtaining medication with alternative options like providing samples if a refill is not available.
  • Pharmacies are likely to remain open, even when other business are closed or there is a shelter-in-place issued.
  • Many insurers are allowing people to refill medications earlier than usual.
  • Insurers offer 90-day supplies of medication instead of 30-day supplies in certain circumstances, particularly if you have been using a medication for an extended period of time. Pharmacists can help determine different options for prescriptions and with insurers like getting access to 90-day supplies.
  • Some pharmacies will deliver medications to you with some currently waiving delivery fees.
  • If there are no delivery options, you may be able to reach out to neighbors or others in your community to bring medications to you. Many individuals are offering similar support through Facebook, churches, or other communities.
  • Medications should be kept in a secure place, particularly if there are children or teens in the home.
  • Financial support in covering costs of medications might be available through organizations like FamilyWize.

Below are updates from major pharmacies on changes or options related to COVID-19 for individuals:

Some companies are also providing additional services to help individuals access or pay for medication during this time, including in some instances options for no-cost medication. Otsuka and others are listing available resources and support for individuals prescribed their medications. To determine if your medication is eligible, check out who makes each prescription and head to their website.