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Emergency Drug Refills for Hurricane Evacuees

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Duke Health News 919-660-1306

Durham, N.C. -- Hurricane evacuees whose medication supplies
are dwindling can obtain emergency refills from most
pharmacies, according to pharmacy experts at Duke University
Medical Center.

"For those people displaced or evacuated from regions
affected by Hurricane Katrina, most pharmacies can dispense a
limited supply of medication," said Stephen Dedrick, director
of pharmacy services at Duke University Medical Center.

In most states, including those hit hardest by Hurricane
Katrina, pharmacists can provide a 72-hour supply when the
prescriber cannot be reached. Specifically, in an emergency,
pharmacists may use their professional judgment in refilling a
prescription drug order -- with the exception of certain
controlled substances –- when an interruption of medication
could disrupt treatment or cause patient suffering.

Due to the emergency situation caused by Hurricane Katrina,
the Texas State Board of Pharmacy announced
they will not enforce the 72-hour supply limit. Pharmacies
there may provide up to a 30-day supply of medications.

Dedrick recommends that people also avoid using medications
-- except those required for a life-threatening condition -- if
they have been compromised by water, other contaminants, or a
lack of refrigeration. Medications such as insulin, vaccines
and some antibiotic suspensions generally require
refrigeration. Without it, their potency and stability can be
reduced, he said.

Patients should take their empty or compromised vials of
medication to the pharmacy, Dedrick said. Emergency refills for
chronic conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, should
be refilled without question, he added.

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