Impact of COVID-19  |  Treatments

Ensuring Continued Supply and Access to Mental Health Medications

BY CHEE KOK SENG & OH WEI JUN

11 June 2020  |   4 min read

While the pandemic has hit, and the city moves into various degrees of lockdown, it is important to ensure that those who are on medication have access to it. Pharmacies and clinics remain open throughout the circuit breaker period. Nonetheless, there are some who may be:

  • Serving out quarantine orders or stay home notices,
  • Part of the vulnerable population – the elderly or those with ongoing medical conditions such as heart, lung disease and diabetes (which places them at heightened risks of medical complications should they succumb to COVID-19) who live alone.

They may understandably be wary of visiting healthcare institutions and avoid leaving their homes, rendering them unable to gain access to their doctors or pharmacists for their medication supplies.

Public healthcare institutions have risen to this challenge by proactively rescheduling non-urgent doctor’s appointments or offering teleconsultations to replace face-to-face clinic visits. Here are some measures that are in place to ensure continued supply and access to your medication(s).

Getting Your Medications to You

For those whose appointments have been rescheduled to later dates, top-up prescriptions will be arranged by their doctors, which can be collected either by themselves or their caregivers at their regular pharmacies. They can also arrange to have their medications delivered to their homes or other preferred locations.

Given the COVID-19 situation, pharmacies at public healthcare institutions have ramped up their medication delivery services in order to meet the demands of patients who prefer to have their medications delivered to them. Delivery fees for patients have also been waived during this period of time.

Ensuring Your Safety from A Safe Distance

Despite not having a pharmacist to explain your medication(s) in person, every prescription will still be reviewed by a pharmacist to ensure that the dosage of each medication and items ordered are current and complete. Pictograms illustrating brand or appearance changes to any of your medication(s) are also provided in the medication delivery bags to keep you informed.

Track and Request Your Medicines from Home

Do ensure that you have at least 2 weeks of medication supply at home to allow for sufficient lead time for delivery.

You may keep track of your current medication supplies from the comfort and safety of your home. Do ensure that you have at least 2 weeks of medication supply at home to allow for sufficient lead time for delivery. You may request for a prescription for medication top-up through the Health-Hub mobile application. Alternatively, you can reach out to your healthcare institution’s pharmacy for a refill of your prescription by phone, email or via your healthcare institutions’ mobile applications. More details can be found here.

Be Careful of What You Buy Online

With the proliferation of online websites or independent e-sellers offering health products, it is difficult to ascertain the authenticity and quality of medicines obtained from other sources that have not been evaluated by the Health Sciences Authority, Singapore. As such, the Health Sciences Authority cautions against buying health products online as there is usually a lack of information on the sellers’ location, source of their products and conditions under which the products were manufactured and stored.

You are strongly advised to only obtain medicines from locally registered pharmacies for the assurance of safe and good quality medicines.

By implementing medication delivery services, clear and updated instructions on how you should take your medication, and mobile applications for medication refills, we hope that you will have peace of mind and continue to stay safe and healthy during this period.

The contributors are a Principal Clinical Pharmacist and a Senior Pharmacist at the Institute of Mental Health Singapore.