How COVID-19 has impacted pharmacy
Research among pharmacists around the globe confirms the adverse impact of COVID-19. Pharmacies were on the frontline like never before, often among the few essential retailers remaining open whilst doctor and hospital appointments were reduced.11,12 This increased workload, had to be managed alongside staff shortages.6, 9
Core dispensing services also came under increased strain as patients stockpiled medicines, worsening existing drug shortages, and purchased more over-the-counter medicines to manage COVID-19 symptoms.9,13,14 For example, just 3% of Canadian pharmacists received complete orders in the first few weeks of the pandemic.11
Everyday practice in the front store changed too, with additional cleaning and safety measures to ensure the pharmacy was COVID-safe.8,9,15 In some countries, lack of PPE such as face masks and coronavirus testing in the early stages was an additional concern.10
With every aspect of pharmacy life affected, it’s unsurprising there was a substantial impact on pharmacists’ mental health.6–8, 16
Despite this, pharmacists also feel that the pandemic has demonstrated the profession’s overwhelming dedication and responsibility to serve patients.17
Hear from pharmacists around the world
“Now this job is made of people taking care of patients throughout the day, even outside of working hours… everything else, all the paperwork, meetings, all the bureaucracy behind pharmacy are only something additional and that’s how it should be.”
“We also helped others from a financial point of view. We mustn’t forget patients might have lost their jobs during the lockdown period or have other issues related to the inability of being treated in the same way as before. For this reason, we started a medicine collection campaign. Other patients collectively help those in need while helping the community as a whole.”
I have seen people, like you know, people literally, begging me, I mean they have come at midnight, and asked “Why don’t you open the shop and help us with these medicines?” or “My kid is vomiting too much” or “He is suffering from a viral fever”. So, despite having no prescriptions etc. and relying on our experience, we were able to help them out. And the blessings they gave us ….that was incredible, I mean it can’t be compared to anything else”
“So, one of the roles I feel that pharmacists and other healthcare workers play, perhaps more now than before is… Especially in my area which has become a hotspot, in Miami. We want to make sure that everybody else, people who don’t have Covid, they need to have their medicine, they need to have their healthcare, they need to have their information and questions answered if they have other problems that are nothing to do with Covid. The healthcare system now is being more overburdened than ever before, so it’s still up to us to be able to answer those questions.”
“During and after the pandemic, our customers have higher awareness of health and may ask us questions using terms or in a knowledgeable way. Therefore, I think that we should learn more medical knowledge and improve our ability in all aspects of healthcare, such as medical learning and service level. Only in this way can we better serve patients.”
“I have never been busier in my life but I’m proud of how we all pulled together and we made sure everyone got what they needed. And we got so much appreciation from our customers – that really helped” – Canadian pharmacist18
Staying strong – Building resilience in pharmacy
Pharmacy teams have been on the frontline during the coronavirus pandemic. This has had a big impact on their mental health and wellbeing and GSK wants to help. We are sharing the lessons learned from coping with COVID-19 and exploring how they could help pharmacists build mental resilience for the future.
A crucial time of change in pharmacy
The pandemic highlighted the vital role pharmacies play in their communities, find out more about what this means for the future.
Personal enablers of mental resilience in pharmacy
Get tips and advice on how to manage personal wellbeing at work to help support better mental health.
GSK support in mental resilience
Discover more about how GSK Consumer Healthcare is working with expert partners to support the mental health and wellbeing of pharmacy teams.