Summit Medicine and Pediatrics’ Tip to Manage the COVID-19 Pandemic

TODAY’S TIP:  Stockpile Essential Medications

The manufacturing, processing, packaging and delivery of many medications prescribed in the US and through the world either begins in China, or remains today dependent upon a supply chain that is influenced by the Chinese economy. It is estimated that the supply chain of approximately 90% of prescription medications, such as many antibiotics, as well as many over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen, is either controlled fully or influenced heavily by the Chinese government.(1) In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese economy has been devastated with many factories and export businesses shut down completely, affecting, over time and both adversely and substantially, the strength of supply of these medication in the US. Furthermore, Chinese government officials have hinted at using their control and influence over the supply of medications available in the US as a ‘bargaining chip’ to exert political advantage over our nation.

Pharmaceutical companies in the United States along with the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) have reassured our nation that there are sufficient reserves of both prescription and over-the-counter medications for several years, and should see us through this crisis without interuption of supply of medications. These reserves are described, documented and maintained at the Strategic National Stockpile.(2) Nevertheless, we recommend that all persons take the opportunity over the next 3-6 months to purchase, either by prescription authorized through their physicians or by over-the-counter availability, a 6-month supply of their medications to keep at home with them. Such personal stockpile will be invaluable should the Chinese economy remain crippled for an extended period of time or their government’s threats of purposeful withholding of such medications to the US and the world come to fruition.

Medications for the following medical conditions are particularly important to have on hand at all times:

  • Hypertension
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Pulmonary Disease
  • Autoimmune Disease (requiring immunosuppressive therapy)

It is important to note that most health insurance companies will not allow their patient-clients to refill prescriptions earlier than allowed by their policy; health insurance companies are generally very strict in timing coverage for refill of prescription medications at the point in which their patient-clients are just about out of their supply of the medications. Yet, there is a way to build a personal stockpile of prescription medications:

  • Establish an account with one of the free prescription medication, cash-pay discount services, such as GoodRx
  • Contact your physician and request authorization for refill of your prescription medication(s) for a 90-day supply for cash-pay to be forwarded to your local pharmacy
  • Contact your local pharmacy to inform that that 90-day prescription refill will be for cash-pay discount and not for processing through your health insurance benefits
  • Once you have obtained your 90-day prescription refill for your personal medication stockpile, continue to process your prescription refills through your health insurance company according to the standard timing for such benefits

“It’s the little things that escape us which can endanger us. After all, the COVID-19 virus is very, very little in size.” — Dr. Mike

  1. The New York Times Article
  2. US DHHS Strategic National Stockpile

Summit Medicine and Pediatrics partners with healthcare professionals and organizations throughout the nation to inform and empower Americans to minimize their risk for COVID-19 infection.