On Monday, the pharmacists in Belgium launched a campaign to educate their clients not to take the on-call pharmacies for night shops and to put an end to non-emergency purchases such as sunscreen or pregnancy tests. According to a survey conducted by the Belgian Pharmaceutical Association (BPA) most of the 1,400 providers who provide night services must often respond to “false emergencies.”
The objective of these on-call pharmacies is to ensure the continuity of providing services to the population stated the BPA “Being woken up at 3:00 am for a pregnancy test is just one of many examples of ‘false’ emergencies that pharmacists face.”
Some purchases may seem logical (sleeping pills or condoms, for example) while others border on surrealism or show a blatant disrespect towards the pharmacist, “things such as a syringe for watering orchids or liquid paraffin for constipated fish “, declared the association in a statement. Situations that particularly irritate these health care professionals are clients who wait until night time to fill their prescriptions as well as those who come with an “emergency” in order to fill a prescription that is days, weeks, or somtimes even months old.”
Pharmacists would also like to remind the population that they charge an on-call fee. In the case of a paid prescription drug whose urgency has been certified by a doctor or pharmacist, the on-call fee is paid for by the insurance provider. However, the fee for non-emergency prescriptions, or other non-reimbursable products, is left to be determined freely by the on-call pharmacist and must be paid by the client.
Campaign posters have been placed in pharmacies and on www.pharmacie.be, the pharmacy reference site.