March 24, 2020
There’s a lot of information – and misinformation – circulating during this COVID-19 pandemic. Some of your patients might be fearful after seeing social media posts urging them to “quarantine” all of their mail and deliveries in their garage for at least a week. Not only is that information not necessarily true, it is also potentially harmful for patients receiving specialty pharmacy medications.
First of all, there is the core issue that patients are being sent overnight delivery of specialty medications from their specialty pharmacy because they need these medications to treat a complex, chronic, or even urgent health condition. Secondly, many of these medications are sent with temperature-controlled packaging and need to be stored in a patient’s refrigerator, and certainly not stuck in a (potentially) hot garage!
Mail and other packages are very likely to be safe. The World Health Organization notes, reassuringly, that: “The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.” Interestingly, emerging research shows that although the virus could live for up to three days on plastic and stainless-steel surfaces, it only lives on cardboard surfaces for 24 hours. FedEx also has their latest safety procedures available.
In addition to the general safety of mail and packages, BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy has added safety measures that should be reassuring to patients. For example, our specialty medications are shipped in cardboard boxes and our pharmacy team wears gloves while packing the medications, which further reduces the chance of spreading a virus inside or outside the box. If patients feel more comfortable, they could choose to open their package while wearing gloves or wiping down the package with a disinfectant wipe before opening it.
Above all, it’s also important to know that BioPlus continues to be ‘open for business’ and will get specialty medications to our patients. We are taking extraordinary efforts to keep our pharmacy safe and to keep our employees available during this critical period so service will not be interrupted. Together, we will make it through these challenging times.