COVID-19

Current FAQ regarding Pharmacy Procedures

DEA Guidance on How to Prescribe Controlled Substances to Patients during COVID-19 (PDF)

COVID 19 Emergency Rule Suspensions Approved (As of 4/15/2020) (PDF)

COVID 19 Guidance for Pharmacies and Pharmacists (PDF)

ASBP Recommendations Concerning Potential Compounding Personal Protective Equipment Shortages (PDF)

USP Guidance for Compounding Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer During COVID-19 Pandemic (PDF)

USP Response to Shortages of Garb and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Sterile Compounding During COVID-19 Pandemic (PDF)

Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine Information from the Arkansas Department of Health (PDF)

FDA Updates Temporary Policy Regarding Non-Standard PPE Practices for Pharmacy Compounders During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PDF)

HHS Prep Act Amendment (PDF)

Quick initial answers to a couple of common questions:

  1. Can a pharmacy limit their hours of operation?
    1. Yes, Pharmacies in Arkansas that hold retail permits are allowed to operate at a minimum of 40 hours per week without a Board approved waiver. If you are currently open more than 40 hours per week and wish to reduce to 40 hours per week during this pandemic then that is not a problem. If you have need to reduce to less than 40 hours per week then please contact our office.
  2. Can a pharmacy limit service to delivery only or to drive through service only?
    1. Yes, we have had pharmacies ask if they can lock their front doors and serve patients via delivery, drive through or curb side pickup. All of these are options for pharmacies in Arkansas
  3. Can a pharmacy ask patients to not enter the pharmacy if they are running fever or suspect that they have been exposed to illness?
    1. Yes, most facilities normally try and use caution with patients they come into contact with but in this environment many want to put up signage asking patients to self identify and not enter the pharmacy if they are running fever or feeling ill.
  4. What about refills if we cannot get a response from the prescriber?
    1. Arkansas Statutes cover this very clearly already as shown below:

17-92-102. Exemptions

(d) In the event a pharmacist receives a request for a prescription refill and the pharmacist is unable to obtain refill authorization from the prescriber, the pharmacist may dispense a one-time emergency refill of the prescribed medication, provided that:

(1) The prescription is not for a medicinal drug listed in Schedule II as defined in § 5-64-205;

(2) The medication is essential to the maintenance of life or to the continuation of therapy;

(3) In the pharmacist’s professional judgment, the interruption of therapy might reasonably produce undesirable health consequences or may cause physical or mental discomfort;

(4) The pharmacist properly records the dispensing; and

(5) The dispensing pharmacist notifies the prescriber of the emergency dispensing within a reasonable time after the one-time emergency refill dispensing.

  1. What about shortages of Personal Protective Equipment for compounding?
    1. The Board of Pharmacy would advise pharmacies to first of all be mindful in your use of PPE and take measures to mitigate waste of such equipment. Pharmacies can approach this in large part by addressing staging and preparation to use the clean room more methodically to avoid excessive waste. As we understand it, national entities are in discussions with USP to see about alternative approaches that may be taken. See the document link at the top of the page for more detailed information.
  2. Questions about signing for Patient on Pseudoephedrine and Ephedrine Sales:The Board of Pharmacy has had several inquiries about selling nasal decongestants such as Pseudoephedrine and Ephedrine during this epidemic. Short answer, NO you cannot sign for the patient. The rules surrounding the sale of OTC items that are methamphetamine precursors (Pseudoephedrine and Ephedrine) have NOT been waived. No, you cannot simply sign for the patient in the tracking system as COVID 19. If the patient has a critical need for these products they will either have to follow the normal procedure for buying the products or you can get in touch with their prescriber of choice to get a prescription for it, at which point it does not have to go through the OTC sales system. Don’t forget you can also guide them to an alternative such as a nasal spray decongestant for a short period of use or to a phenylephrine product as an alternative.ONE MORE THING : the rules for this REQUIRE that you scan the purchaser’s Arkansas Driver’s License or Non-Driver ID with the only exception being the fact that a military ID will not scan due to Dept of Defense encryption on those IDs. This has to go into the real-time electronic tracking database. You also must have a signature log and here is where it gets interesting. The law (statute in Arkansas) allows for the signature to be electronic or on paper. With that being said, you could do the following:Make determination to sell as a pharmacistScan in the patient ID into the systemGather a signature on paper that must be kept for the prescribed length of time which should be 2 years to coincide with the sale of product(If you currently are gathering electronic signatures you can continue to do that or have a note in that signature to refer to the paper signature that you are keeping on file)You cannot skip the scanning of the ID into the electronic logbook and simply say COVID 19. That requirement is not waived and the requirement for a signature is not waived. This is a reflection of the best option I can come up with in discussing with the Arkansas Crime Information System who is in charge of the tracking system. While some pharmacies may choose to utilize this method you can also encourage use of an alternative product or help the patient to get a prescription for the nasal decongestant which puts it into the prescription category instead of the OTC tracking system.
  3. What about other questions?
    1. Contact the Board of Pharmacy Office with other specific questions

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