Coronavirus: Medicine home delivery service launched in Abu Dhabi

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Abu Dhabi: People living in the emirate of Abu Dhabi Emirate have started getting medicines delivered to their doors from pharmacies thanks to a new initiative by the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, the regulator of the healthcare sector in the Emirate.

Most of the outpatient pharmacies in the emirate have the approval to offer this service, the DoH – Abu Dhabi told Emirates News Agency, WAM.

All the DoH-licensed pharmacies in government (under SEHA, the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company) and private sectors, which adhere to mechanisms and requirements of DoH – Abu Dhabi’s new standards for home delivery of patients’ medication, have been authorised for this purpose.

Patients can now reach out to pharmacies directly to order medicines.

The service was originally launched to serve the demand of patients and for their convenience, especially for the elderly, vulnerable patients and those who live in remote areas.

However, the timing of the launch is critical as it enables the health sector to support the government strategy to ensure taking preventive measures against the new coronavirus, COVID-19, including social distancing, protecting society by encouraging them to stay at home, and ensuring the continuity of care for all residents in the Emirate, the DoH – Abu Dhabi explained.

About the delivery charge for the service, the DoH said in a statement, “Pharmacies are allowed to take a charge, but it is the discretion of each pharmacy whether they intend to charge for the service.”

The permitted drugs for home delivery are: Over the Counter, OTC (sold directly to a consumer without a prescription); Pharmacist Only, PhOM (sold without a prescription but its safe use requires professional advice) and Prescription Only Medications, POM (that legally requires a medical prescription to be dispensed).

For those who want to get home delivery of Controlled and Semi-Controlled Medications, special authorisation is required from the DoH – Abu Dhabi to ensure all legal and regulatory requirements are met.

Controlled drugs are those that, if not used responsibly, can lead to addiction and have the potential to be abused by individuals. These medicines are administered to patients of acute and chronic diseases in accordance with modern medical practice. They are mostly administered to in-patients.

Additionally, complex medication regimens (for patients with multiple chronic conditions) prescribed for the first time, should not be delivered, however, refills are permissible, the DoH – Abu Dhabi explained.

The pharmacies have to follow drug storage guidelines to ensure that the medicines delivered to patients are packaged and sealed properly.

Therefore, pharmacists must ensure that refrigerated medicines are transported in a temperature-controlled container, maintaining the correct temperature as per product specifications during the transit.

The pharmacies have to maintain the confidentiality of patients’ information during the home delivery.

As per the regulation of the DoH – Abu Dhabi, maintaining patients’ confidentiality is “important and a top priority.”

Only patient’s name and his or her contact details will be mentioned on the package.

It is mandatory for patients to provide the pharmacy with an original medical prescription, whether digital or a hard copy, as well as verification documents of the patient or the recipient of the medicine, the DoH explained.

Pharmacists are only permitted to prepare an order for delivery if the original or electronic prescription is presented in the pharmacy prior to delivery. The Emirates ID is the primary identification document and it must be presented in order to receive the delivery of medication.

“We invite pharmacies that wish to provide the home delivery service to seek licensing by contacting our Health Facilities Licensing Department via e-mail: [email protected],” the DoH – Abu Dhabi concluded.

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