Orders are up more than 130% on the MedAdvisor platform, with the most-ordered OTC medications being Panadol, blood glucose strips and Ventolin
MedAdvisor, the technology behind more than half of Australian pharmacies including the TerryWhite Chemmart, Amcal and Blooms chains, has seen a significant surge in patients ordering medications via their online app.
Compared to just three weeks ago, orders are up more than 130% on the platform, MedAdvisor reports.
In addition, the number of orders for Panadol alone doubled in the past week.
Data from their app showed the most-ordered medicines were as follows:
5 most-ordered OTC medications
1. Panadol Osteo
4. Glucose strips
5 most-ordered prescription medications
Source: MedAdvisor 2020
MedAdviser CEO and Managing Director, Robert Read warned that Australia faces chronic medicine shortages if patients don’t stop stockpiling products.
The company is seeing “significant surges in the number, sizes and values of both over-the-counter and prescription orders,” he said.
“We’ve been told by many of our pharmacists that in many cases they’re now processing double the number of prescriptions every day and they’re having to work long hours and extra days to keep up with the demand.
“This is the time that we all need to come together – albeit, at a distance – to ensure every Australian can access the medication they need, when they need it.”
Mr Read urged patients not to overbuy medicine.
“Work with your pharmacy to ensure you have an adequate supply. Pharmacies are often our forgotten frontline of this health crisis and these businesses are being overrun, many staff abused and concerned about being exposed to the COVID-19 virus, ” he said.
“If everyone buys just what they need, there will be enough medication, like Ventolin and paracetamol to go around.”
Steven Kastrinakis, Advantage Group Pharmacist Owner in Warragul Victoria, told MedAdvisor they couldn’t source one Ventolin in their town of 12,500 people and pharmacists were trying to move stock from one store to another.
“We have been run off our feet. The demand is unbelievable, I have run out of key over-the-counter products and our supply chain has been impacted by the panic buyers,” said Mr Kastranakis.
“Our pharmacists are working 14-hour days to get through the demand and we don’t know when it will end. Please work with your pharmacist to order and pay in advance so we can ensure you, and everyone else, has an adequate supply of the medications they need. Introducing delivery and online ordering will help us cope but also help flatten the COVID-19 curve. We all need to do our bit to stop the spread.”
The Federal Government has recently announced it is now requiring community pharmacists to enforce new limits on dispensing and sales of prescription and over-the-counter medicines.
Pharmacists will be required to limit dispensing of certain prescription products to one months’ supply at the prescribed dose, and sales of certain over-the-counter medicines to a maximum of one unit per purchase.
Salbutamol inhalers provided on an over-the-counter basis are also subject to new controls. Pharmacists will be required to confirm that supply is appropriate by confirmation of the patient’s diagnosis, label the product indicating to whom it has been dispensed and record the supply.
Pharmacists are also required to place paracetamol paediatric formulations behind the counter to assist in allocating supply equitably.
Read more about the guidelines here