By YOURI KEMP
Tribune Business Reporter
A Bahamian pharmacist says the present COVID-19 restriction limiting pharmacies to curbside service is inconveniencing customers as there is "no privacy" and it is too "hectic".
Johnathan Frazer, head pharmacist at the People's Pharmacy on Prince Charles Drive, told Tribune Business that despite the inconvenience for patients he has not lost any sales as a result.
"This is an inconvenience to the customer because they don't have that privacy any more. There is no privacy, but we try to give them as much privacy when we go outside to them, but everybody is listening to what is being said," Mr Frazer said.
"The Bahamas Pharmaceutical Association (BPA) was trying to get the emergency powers that be to make some amendment to that, and find some other way, some other option to deal with our customers on the outside. But they said that the competent authority is still toying with the idea and they are still thinking about it.
"There are some disadvantages to the curbside service that all of the pharmacies are concerned about, but we just have to work along with the government until they give us a better option or until they lift this lockdown. I can work with it, it is really hectic and stressful for us, and the customer has no privacy. This is something that we are not used to, but it isn't easy and, as I said, it is really hectic and stressful."
Shantia McBride, the The Bahamas Pharmaceutical Association (BPA) president, last week told Tribune Business she had approached the competent authority on allowing only prescription customers into the pharmacies and leaving over-the-counter (OTC) sales to other customers as a way to strike a balance. This, she explained, would enable prescription customers to avoid waiting outside to have their prescriptions filled.
Mr Frazer said, however: "I haven't had any word with her (Ms McBride) and I haven't even discussed the matter with any of the other pharmacies. What I suspect is that the reason the emergency powers are disallowing customers to come in with prescriptions is that they are the ones who are going to contaminate, and cause the staff and other customers who are in the store to get the infection.
"They are the ones who have the prescription, but we don't know which person would have the virus. So the people who really should come in are the ones who don't have a prescription, but then I understand her reasoning that if you allow for only prescription customers to come in then you would have more privacy and they are the ones who are really sick.