The S.C. Board of Pharmacy offers the following tips to pharmacists for protecting a pharmacy before, during and after a hurricane.
Planning Ahead - Before the Storm
Enclose the following lists in waterproof material.
- Names of pharmacy employees with contact information
- Names of local radio and TV stations with news phone numbers.
- Names of local physician offices and hospitals.
- Contact information for wholesalers and delivery services (UPS, FedEx).
Obtain the Following:
- Contact name at the S.C. Emergency Management Division (803) 737-8500.
- Waterproof covering material.
- List of area shelters.
Prior to the Storm
If the pharmacy is to be closed and/or evacuated, notify appropriate legal supervisory personnel.
Anticipate power outages.
- In some cases, a portable generator may be advisable.
- Ice and coolers should be available to store refrigerated products (i.e. insulin).
- Store flammable materials appropriately.
Closing a Pharmacy
Notify the following if the pharmacy is to be closed (and when it reopens):
- Store personnel
- Local and television media
- Physicians and/or hospitals
- S.C. Emergency Management Division ((803) 737-8500)
If the store is to be closed and evacuation is warranted, the pharmacist-in-charge should produce two sets of backup tapes/ disks of drug inventory and prescription information. One set of information should be kept in a safe place and another kept off-site in the possession of the pharmacist-in-charge.
Prior to evacuation, computers should be shut down and covered with waterproof material. If flooding is expected, computers should be disconnected from the terminals and moved to a safe area.
Schedule II drugs should be moved to a locked, secure place. A safe may be used, but is not required. Other products such as prescription drugs should be moved, if possible, above the floor level and covered with waterproof materials.
After the Storm
If controlled substances are lost in a disaster, the pharmacist-in-charge must immediately contact the:
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Columbia's District Office at (803) 765-5251.
- DHEC Bureau of Drug Control at (803) 896-0636. DEA Form 106 and/or a disposal form DEA 41 may need to be completed.
- Board of Pharmacy at (803) 896-4700.
- All permit holders must report to the Board of Pharmacy within 10 working days of the discovery of the occurrence of disasters, accidents, destruction or loss of records required to be maintained by state or federal law (see S.C. Code of Laws 40-43-91).
When the situation has stabilized, pharmacy personnel should be notified on what steps to take to restore the integrity of the pharmacy setting.
Getting Back to Business
Here are a few tips for manually dispensing drugs and refill authorizations.
Manually Dispensing Drugs
If the pharmacy computer is not working, prescriptions may be dispensed manually. Labels can be typed or handwritten using a waterproof pen. Since printed drug information may not be available, patient counseling should clarify any questions the patient may have.
Click here to review S.C. law (40-43-86(I)(4)(a-k)), which indicates, that all drugs dispensed to ambulatory or outpatients must contain a detailed label affixed to the container in which the drug is dispensed.
When the Governor issues a State of Emergency, pharmacists may work in the affected county and may dispense a one-time emergency refill of up to a 30-day supply of a prescribed medication if:
- The pharmacist has all prescription information necessary in order to accurately refill the prescription;
- In the pharmacist's professional opinion the medication is essential to the maintenance of life or to the continuation of therapy;
- The pharmacist reduces the information to a written prescription marked "Emergency Refill", files the prescription as required by law and notifies the prescribing physician within 15 days of the emergency refill; and
- The prescription is not for a controlled substance
Offering Help to Affected Areas
S.C. law (40-43-170) states "a pharmacist not licensed in South Carolina but currently licensed in another state, may in a state of emergency dispense prescription medications in those affected counties without being licensed in South Carolina during the time that a state of emergency exists if:
- The pharmacist has some type of identification to verify current licensure in another state and;
- The pharmacist is engaged in a legitimate relief effort during an emergency situation.”