In the COVID-19 time it is vitally important to keep the pharmacies open. Those visiting pharmacies, could be infected or serving an infected person, therefore, it is vitally important that Health Authorities define hygiene rules for pharmacist working in the pharmacies, medicine/product shelving and customers. It will stop pharmacies from becoming the potential spreader of COVID-19. I think the following steps, and more could be needed:
1- ENTRANCE TO PHARMACIES: DOOR AND HANDLES NEED TO BE VIRUS FREE
a. Automatic doors or door opening devices need to be installed in Pharmacies, where possible.
b. If automatic doors are not installed. Weather and other issues are not concerning the door should be kept open.
c. If both above, are not possible staff of the pharmacies should be assigned to open door and clean handles if touched by customers.
2- PRODUCT AND SHELVING: SHOULD NOT BE TOUCHABLE BY CUSOTMERS
a. Pharmacies keep products in open shelving that is accessible to customer touch and feel, these products and shelves should be removed and kept behind serving tables where only pharmacist will have to access.
3- PHARMACIST SERVING THE CUSTOMERS: SHOULD BE A TOUCH FREE ENVIRONMENT
a. Customer should be asked first to put their prescription and medicine demand list in a designated prescription basket and sanitize hands.
b. The prescription basket should be supported by UV disinfection solutions.
c. The Pharmacist should have handlers that help read the prescription without touching.
d. Serving customer should be encouraged to not touch the medicine and pharmacist opening, showing and explain the medication if needed.
e. Pharmacist should wear gloves that are changed after every customer serving or frequently changed but must change gloves if a suspected customer is served.
f. Any medicine touched by suspected customer or returned medication should be properly disinfected.
Noor Rahman Liwal