Hurricane Sandy is a devastating reminder of how natural disasters strike fiercely, often without warning, and can leave destruction and shattered lives. In the aftermath of these tragedies we rightly credit emergency personnel for their immediate response. Consistently, independent community pharmacists are playing a key role as well.
Pharmacists are working to ensure their neighbors have access to their needed medications. We saw this previously in Joplin after the tornados and in northeast Pennsylvania after Hurricane Irene, among many other instances.
Response to Hurricane Sandy has been no different. According to multiple press accounts, independent community pharmacists are once again stepping up. For example, NJ.com highlighted an independent community pharmacy helping patients obtain necessary medications, even if the patient’s primary pharmacy is currently closed. If the patient brings in the pill bottle, emergency provisions that temporarily relax documentation requirements allow the pharmacy to work with them to help them out. In addition to helping patients who may routinely go to other pharmacies, they are going above and beyond by delivering prescriptions if needed. It is these services that may be taken for granted in normal times, but are noticed in times of crisis.
While independent pharmacists do their best to serve their patients regardless of the circumstances, the Huffington Post highlighted some of the difficulties pharmacies faced in Sandy’s aftermath, including looting, power outages and floods. In spite of these challenges, independent pharmacies such as Hackensack Pharmacy in Hackensack, NJ were filling prescriptions, with many offering free delivery. Even in the hardest hit areas, such as Staten Island, independent pharmacists such as Matt Ferranti of Nate’s Pharmacy were offering this service, so long as they can get gas for their delivery cars.
Moreover, Pharmacist.com noted that the New Jersey Pharmacists Association had to cut its annual meeting short to allow members time to secure their stores before the storm and be in a better position to help their patients and their neighbors. Selig Corman from the Pharmacists Society of the State of New York noted, “when someone is without their medication that is a serious problem.”
Congratulations to these and the many other independent community pharmacists routinely going above and beyond to assist their fellow citizens in need by providing access to medications, particularly during a disaster.