Pharmacists' experiences of consumer stockpiling: Insights from COVID-19

Eliza Cameron, Simon A. Moss, Samuel Kietannpaa , Mary Bushell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background
Consumer stockpiling from pharmacies has been reported by media outlets throughout the course of COVID-19.

Aim
This study evaluated pharmacists’ perceptions of consumer stockpiling from pharmacies, the impact of stockpiling, aggressive or hostile behaviour from customers and preparedness for COVID-19 and future pandemics.

Method
A self-administered survey was disseminated between September and November of 2020. The survey comprised four major sections: demographic information, experiences of consumer stockpiling, impact of consumer stockpiling and preparedness for COVID-19 and future pandemics. Survey results were analysed in Microsoft Excel using descriptive statistics.

Results
Of the 56 responses analysed, most pharmacists observed consumer stockpiling of over-the-counter products (98.2%), schedule 2 and schedule 3 medications (92.8%) and prescription only medications (94.6%). The most commonly stockpiled items included face masks, hand-sanitisers and wipes, alcohol wipes and antiseptic solutions, thermometers, paracetamol and salbutamol inhalers. Patients also requested the dispensing of several months’ supply of regular prescription medications. Customer aggression was observed by 53.6% of pharmacists, with 63% of pharmacists agreeing that hostile behaviour impeded their practice. Only 36.7% of pharmacists felt adequately prepared to cope with the challenges of COVID-19.

Conclusion
Consumer stockpiling from pharmacies was observed throughout COVID-19. Stockpiling as well as aggressive and hostile behaviour from customers affected pharmacists, their staff, business and other pharmacy customers. Additional studies are needed to investigate the severity of these issues and to inform policy changes to help mitigate consumer stockpiling and prepare the pharmacy profession for future pandemics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)464-471
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pharmacy Practice and Research
Volume51
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

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