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5 Tips to Improve Medication Access for People With Diabetes During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Jun 22, 2020

By Chauntae Reynolds, PharmD, BCACP, CDCES 

In light of recent events, I have had several clients encounter barriers to obtaining their medications due to limited transportation, unemployment or overall fear of exposure to COVID-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with diabetes are a high-risk population for COVID19, thus it is important to reduce this vulnerable population’s risk of exposure to COVID19 and encourage the following of prescribed therapies. 

While talking to individuals, I offer five tips in an effort to keep them safe, ensure they have access to all of their medications and eliminate multiple trips to the pharmacy. 

1. Be prepared 

Preparation minimizes wait time at the pharmacy and eliminates multiple trips to the pharmacy. I recommend patients review all medication needs before requesting refills and encourage them to request refills at least three days in advance. In addition, I encourage patients to verify all medications are ready before heading to the pharmacy. 

2. Synchronize your medications  

Medication synchronization programs, or “med sync,” allows the pharmacy to streamline medications to be filled on the same day each month instead of making multiple trips to the pharmacy. This service is available upon request at some national pharmacy chains and is best for clients on routine maintenance medications.

3. Request a 90-day supply 

Empower clients to request a 90-day supply of maintenance medications. Depending on insurance, a 90-day supply of maintenance medications may be available from a community pharmacy or from a mail order pharmacy. If the patient opts for mail order, it may take 7-10 days to receive. Again, preparation is key!

4. Sign up for medication delivery

Many community pharmacies are now offering free/low cost home delivery, curbside pickup and/or drive through prescription services upon request. If a pharmacy does not offer this service, individuals may transfer their prescriptions to a pharmacy that is able to provide this service.

5. See if you qualify for medication cost-savings programs

Check out the ADCES insulin and non-insulin cost-savings resource guides at DiabetesEducator.org/Affordability to see if your clients quality for a cost-savings program. This directory lists all diabetes medications with a direct link to the drug manufacturer’s patient assistance website. If you have someone that does not meet the medication assistance criteria, it is worthwhile to contact the drug manufacturer directly. In light of recent events, some drug manufacturers are meeting the needs of people with diabetes by expanding their patient assistance programs and reducing out of pocket expenses for diabetes medications.   

When working with your clients, I encourage you to follow these five tips. But most importantly, encourage them to continue to connect with their prescribers and diabetes care and education specialists through telehealth. There are many tools and resources available for both clients and diabetes care and education specialists to remotely manage diabetes. For more information, visit DiabetesEducator.org/Telehealth.  


ADCES Perspectives on Diabetes Care

The Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists Perspectives on Diabetes Care covers diabetes, prediabetes and other cardiometabolic conditions. Not all views expressed reflect the official position of the Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists.

Copyright is owned or held by the Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists and all rights are reserved. Permission is granted, at no cost and without need for further request, to link to, quote, excerpt or reprint from these stories in any medium as long as no text is altered, and proper attribution is made to the Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists.

HEALTHCARE DISCLAIMER: This site and its services do not constitute the practice of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always talk to your diabetes care and education specialist or healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment, including your specific medical needs. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem or condition, please contact a qualified health care professional immediately. To find a diabetes care and education specialist near you, visit DiabetesEducator.org/Find.

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