AMID the recent surge in new novel coronavirus cases, local pharmacists are concerned about people who request medication after displaying symptoms of COVID-19 but avoid doing a test or quarantine.
Immediate past president of Pharmaceutical Society of Jamaica (PSJ), Dr Ernestine Watson, told the Jamaica Observer that there is an increase in the number of patients requesting medications to relieve symptoms similar to those of COVID-19.
“We have an increased number of patients asking for medications and when they are questioned, there is a great suspicion among pharmacists that they might be related to symptoms of COVID-19 because a lot of them are saying that they cannot taste or smell anything,” Dr Watson disclosed.
Dr Watson noted that patients were often requesting antihistamines such as DPH, Histal, along with other medications for coughs and congestions. She said that patients were also opting not to do a COVID-19 test, even though it is free of cost at Government clinics.
“Some of them are afraid to know [the results] and others might not have the time to do it. Also, because their symptoms are mild, they just think that it is safe to just treat themselves with antihistamines. We don't know if they are in fact symptoms of COVID-19, but the rule is that once you are having the relevant symptoms you should isolate yourself and practise the protocols,” she said.
Pharmacist at Different Original Resourceful (DOR) Pharmacy in Spanish Town, Denecia Green, shared a similar plight, adding that patients were opting not to do the test for the virus due to cost and discomfort.
“That is frequently because of the discomfort associated with it and they think that the [COVID swab] test hurts and it is very painful — and they say they are not putting themselves through that. Some are hesitating because they think it is expensive,” said Green.