Endnote: COVID-19 Timeline of BCPhA Activities

May 15, 2020

Jan. 24    •    BC Pharmacy Association provides Issue Update to alert members about the 2019 novel coronavirus, with information on its origin, symptoms, risk to B.C., and information pharmacists may share with patients

Jan. 29    •    British Columbia reports its first case of the new coronavirus

Feb. 7    •    First media release issued to identify pharmacists as a health-care resource for the public as the outbreak continues to grow

Feb. 14    •     Association begins sourcing supplies such as hand sanitizer to maintain the Association’s in-person training sessions. Fifth case of COVID-19 reported in B.C.

Feb. 19    •    All-member town hall is advertised to inform members of Association’s priorities and to answer questions, many of which were about COVID-19

Feb. 27    •    BCPhA implements self-isolation policy for staff with family members who have flu-like symptoms

Mar. 1    •    MLA tours launched for Pharmacy Awareness Month, about a dozen tours focused on pharmacy operations during COVID-19

Mar. 3    •    BCPhA engages provincial government on potential for drug shortages due to stockpiling

Mar. 4    •    Significant focus of member communications turns to COVID-19. BCPhA begins sharing resources for health-workers on COVID-19

Mar. 9    •    First Canadian death due to COVID-19 at a North Vancouver care home

Mar. 11    •    World Health Organization characterizes COVID-19 as a global pandemic

Mar. 12    •    BCPhA begins developing patient-facing posters for pharmacies, asking patients to call ahead and stay home if symptoms are present

Mar. 13    •    Association issues first daily COVID-19 update, with information on early refills and emergency supplies. BCPhA works with the Ministry and College to clarify that pharmacy staff essential to their operation are exempt from mandatory self-isolation following travel

Mar. 16    •    MLA tours are suspended. BCPhA works with College of Pharmacists to determine that patients should be provided a 30-day supply for emergency refills, instead of a standard seven-day supply

Mar. 17    •    BCPhA issues media statement to public to educate about the 30-day supply and to warn against stockpiling. Interest from media spikes significantly to multiple media requests per week, sometimes multiple per day

Mar. 18    •    All Association in-person sessions are postponed indefinitely, including conference and workshops

Mar. 19    •    BCPhA advocates for PharmaCare audit activities to be suspended during pandemic

Mar. 20    •    BCPhA publishes COVID-19 checklist for pharmacies for guidance, prevention and control. Association confirms with Pacific Blue Cross that audit activities will be suspended

Mar. 23    •    BCPhA submits letter to Minister Adrian Dix and Dr. Bonnie Henry, asking for pharmacies to be considered in allocation of PPE

Mar. 24    •    BCPhA hosts webinar to help pharmacists reduce COVID-19 exposure risks. Letter is written to registrars of health profession Colleges to address inappropriate prescribing of hydroxychloroquine. Pharmacists are confirmed as eligible for priority COVID-19 testing

Mar. 30    •    BCPhA opens members-only job board to non-members

Apr. 1    •    BCPhA publishes aggregate information on third party coverage for 30-day dispensing

Apr. 2     •    Association begins offering temporary insurance membership for non-practising pharmacy professionals and students to work in pharmacies

Apr. 3    •    Dr. Bonnie Henry announces government will seek to address dispensing fees for low income and seniors

Apr. 6    •    BCPhA drafts new media statement on 30-day supply of medications, in response to patient concerns of increased dispensing fees

Apr. 15    •    BCPhA announces $110,000 protective barrier fund for pharmacies to subsidize pharmacy purchases of plexiglass and physical barriers

Apr. 17    •    BCPhA successfully escalates concerns around reducing transmission risk by suspending patient signatures on various PharmaCare forms. Ministry confirms suspension of signature requirements of Frequent Dispensing Authorization forms and the Smoking Cessation Program Declaration and Notification forms

Apr. 20    •    BCPhA begins organizing group purchase orders for personal protective equipment for member pharmacies  

This article is featured in The Tablet. The Tablet features pharmacy and industry news, profiles on B.C. pharmacists, information on research developments and new products.