Friday, 1 July 2016

09:32 – I got an interesting email from a guy who’s about my age, and has been a pharmacist for almost 40 years. He started in a hospital pharmacy, worked for an independent drugstore for a few years, and for the last 25+ years has worked for a national drugstore chain.

Things have changed a lot in that time. Years ago, he spent a lot of time keeping track of inventory, discarding drugs that were nearing expiration, and manually ordering to replenish the supply. Nowadays, it’s all computerized just-in-time. They get a delivery every day, with the computers at the central warehouse deciding what items to ship and how much of each. The only time he has to order manually is if he needs oddball items for which the demand is sporadic. If they need something they’re out of, it’s delivered via overnight express. He said that’s why having prescriptions partially filled is a lot more common than it used to be. I’d actually noticed that myself. In the last several years, Barbara has had several prescriptions partially filled and we had to return the next day to the pharmacy to get the rest of the prescription.

This guy has been a prepper since 9/11. As he says, most preppers understand that JIT inventory systems for supermarkets mean that there’s only about a 3-day supply of food in local supermarkets at any one time, but most don’t realize that the same or worse is true of pharmacies. If the trucks ever stop rolling for any reason, local drug inventories will be exhausted very quickly. Especially because in a serious emergency, just as with supermarkets, what would normally be a 3-day supply will disappear in a few hours as people refill prescriptions to make sure they don’t run out.

His advice for people whose lives depend on medications is to convince their physicians to write prescriptions for the longest term and most refills they’re willing to do and that their insurance will cover. Refill them as soon as possible, and ask your physician if each medication can be stored in the freezer. With the exception of some liquid medications, notably insulin, most can. Store any excess medications that are freezable in the freezer, where they will remain usable for years to decades.

For those of us who don’t routinely take prescription medications, the most important thing to store is antibiotics. You might never need them, but if you do it may be the difference between life and death. I wrote about that here, including links to specific antibiotics at aquabiotics.net. Interestingly, not long after I posted that article six months ago, aquabiotics received a visit from the feds and stopped selling antibiotics. Just the other day, I visited their site and found they were again offering antibiotics. If you haven’t already stocked up, you might want to grab some now while the getting is good.