Confusion reigns over the opening of Pharmacies

ECONOMYNEXT – A flurry of press releases about the opening of pharmacies has left consumers confused about whether they can go to get their medicines or not tomorrow.

The first release issued by the Task Force to maintain essential services also contained a series of guidelines for pharmacies issued jointly by the Pharmacists Association.

It said that Pharmacies will be open from 9 am to 2 pm even where the curfew was in force.

The release laid down some strict guidelines to prevent abuse of the freedom that the pharmacy opening had given to curfew violators.

For instance it requires pharmacists to stamp prescriptions which they had filled to prevent people from using old prescriptions to wander around pretending they were going to buy medicines.

The guidelines did not offer a solution to someone who would need a new prescription as most private doctors’ offices are closed.

Last week the same task force, headed by the national organizer of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Basil Rajapaksa, had announced that pharmacies everywhere would be open whether there was curfew or not.

The statement issued on Tuesday, April 7 said that pharmacies will be open under strict guidelines.

By this evening, April 10, another press release arrived from the Prime Minister’s office stating that pharmacies will be open, but only where the curfew has been lifted.

With a stamp saying “Revision” or සංශෝධනයය් the announcement said that the pharmacies would be opened but not in the areas considered “high risk” without listing what these areas are.





It took a call to the person who actually wrote the press release to find out what on earth is going on.

So we at EconomyNext asked the person and got you the answer.

Now that you have had the patience to read all of this the Pharmacies will be CLOSED in Kandy, Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, Jaffna, Puttalam and the isolated regions tomorrow.

Patients needing medicines will have to use WhatsApp or similar applications to send in their prescriptions and the Prime Minister’s office is promising that your medicines will be delivered to you.

Everywhere else you should be able to go out and get your medicines if you have a valid prescription, and in some areas of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa there will be several mobile pharmacies you can access according to the communique. (Colombo, 10 April 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

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