More than 90% of Americans live within two miles of a community pharmacy, and in a time of limited resources, pharmacists across the country are stepping up to meet the needs of their patients and their communities.
Jeff Honea, a 2019 alumnus of Samford University’s McWhorter School of Pharmacy, and his employees at Chelsea Apothecary, produced 700 gallons of hand sanitizer over the course of a weekend.
“It was something we took upon ourselves because we saw the need, and we knew we could do something about it,” Honea said. “It came with a heavy startup cost, so we decided to make it in bulk. We worked all weekend and bottled two- and eight-ounce bottles as well as five-gallon containers for hospitals and cafeterias.”
These measures go above and beyond the call to care. For in the midst of this global pandemic, pharmacists are working diligently to maintain the continuation of care for their existing patients, especially in a season already riddled with flu and seasonal allergy needs.
“We are having to deliver more often now. This is a bit of a stress point because we still have the same amount of work with a limited amount of help,” Honea said. “But I know my patients.... It’s important that we continue to make sure they get their medications when they need them, along with everyone else.”
Pharmacies are considered essential businesses, so throughout the country, they remain open—no matter the variance of areas’ shelter in place policies. But they have adopted stricter preventative measures to ensure the safety of their patients and employees. “Of course, we’re sanitizing more frequently, being aware of commonly touched surfaces,” Honea said. “And we’re also offering to meet our patients outside, bringing their medications to them.”
Honea is the pharmacist and owner of Chelsea Apothecary in Chelsea, Alabama. The pharmacy was first opened in the early 2000s by his father Jeff Honea, Sr., ’98.