In the eye of the storm

The Pharmacy Guild is attempting to contact pharmacies in cyclone ravaged north Queensland, as local pharmacists fear stock shortage and supply issues.  

As yet there is no word of any damage to pharmacies in areas of north and central Queensland that have been hit by Cyclone Debbie in the last couple of days.

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia is attempting to contact pharmacies in the area, said its Queensland branch president Tim Logan.

Speaking to AJP, Mr Logan said there were as yet no reports of damage to pharmacies, but they had not spoken to a lot of those in the region.

They were having trouble getting in touch with some, given the advice from emergency services for people to stay at home and not venture outside.

Mr Logan said the next week or so will be the toughest for pharmacies as flooding kicks in, staff are occupied with damage to their own properties, stock damage and shortages mount and customers experience medicine shortages.

He said Bowen, Airlie Beach, Shute Harbour and the Whitsunday Islands were among the worst hit areas being passed over by the eye of the cyclone, while Mackay and surrounding areas had experienced torrential rain.

The 2010 Pharmacist of the Year, Karalyn Huxhagen, lives and practices in Mackay. She told AJP that she was “sitting in the middle of Debbie and am quite frightened even though I am a hardened NQ girl”.

“I did not open yesterday or today as there is torrential rain, violent winds and lots of debris,” she said. “The pharmacy has no power so our vaccines are going to be cactus. Some pharmacies are open as some areas have power.”

“At home I have a generator and we are supplying power for our neighbours and family.”

Supplies may be affected for a number of days, she said, with Symbion advising on Monday that they “did not expect to get any medication to us this week. I opened Monday till about 2pm and was quite busy as a lot of pharmacies were out of some medication. With price disclosure coming this weekend a lot had run down their stock”.

We’d like to hear from any pharmacists or pharmacy staff in affected areas. Please send us your stories or photos via email, Facebook or Twitter 

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