As we enter a new hurricane season, we encourage pharmacists and pharmacies to review their emergency preparedness and disaster response plans.
> Help your patients prepare for the hurricane season by providing them with updated copies of their patient profiles, and encourage them to keep that profile with their critical documents during an evacuation. Communicate before they evacuate!
> Help your pharmacy prepare for the next emergency by reviewing your data security and environmental policies and procedures. We know that you backup your electronic prescription data on an appropriate schedule; are any of those backup copies stored off site? If you need to close the pharmacy for evacuation, try to prepare multiple copies of your data, preferably on different media. This could be useful if you have an opportunity to re-open your pharmacy using different computer equipment.
> If your prescription drug inventory includes items labeled for storage at "controlled room temperature" (most non-refrigerated oral solid dosage forms), what measures have you taken to ensure the continuity of those temperatures in the absence of electricity from your local electrical power generation or distribution company? Have you considered the use of supplemental electrical generators to ensure appropriate temperatures for the storage of prescription drugs? If you do use such devices, please remember to adhere to the safety precautions attached to those devices.
> If the emergency situation was serious enough to prompt the Governor to issue a proclamation declaring a State of Emergency for some or all of the state, and if your pharmacy is operating within the area under the declaration of emergency, please remember two standing rules already approved by the Board:
1. Using sound professional judgment, a pharmacist may dispense a one-time emergency prescription for any medication, for up to a 30-day supply, IF:
a. in the pharmacist's professional opinion, the medication is essential to life or the continuation of previously prescribed therapy, AND
b. the pharmacist prepares a written record marked "Emergency Prescription" and then files and maintains that record as required by law.
2. If you are assisting a shelter or other relief effort, that organization may accept offers of assistance from pharmacists from other states not licensed in Louisiana, under the following conditions:
a. the pharmacist has some type of identification to verify current unrestricted licensure in another state, and
b. the pharmacist and the pharmacy or other organization engaging that pharmacist shall notify the Board of their presence and approximate location prior to the engagement of professional practice in the disaster area.
Remember, these rules are already in place; they are automatically triggered by the Governor's declaration of a State of Emergency.
> If you need to change the location of your pharmacy during or immediately following a State of Emergency, please contact the Board office for assistance with that process. We may be able to streamline certain requirements for you.