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The impact and devastation brought about by Hurricane Ian are well documented. At the time of writing, Hurricane Ian has caused at least 130 fatalities and displaced thousands more in the Southeast United States.

Ian is currently the 24th deadliest hurricane in U.S. history and the deadliest to hit Florida since the Labor Day hurricane in 1935.

Hurricane Ian is the fifth most powerful storm to hit the U.S. in terms of wind speed. Climate experts have also noticed a recent pattern of stronger hurricanes and other severe storm disasters as oceans have become warmer in recent years.

3.4 million people experienced power outages as a result of the hurricane: 2.7 million in Florida; 350,000 in North Carolina; 218,000 in South Carolina; 100,000 in Virginia, and 15,000 in Georgia.

There is no shortage of organizations and charities you can donate to in assisting those in need. Here are important facts about Hurricane Ian and how you can help those who need it.

The Facts

As stated before, Hurricane Ian caused at least 130 deaths at the time of writing. Over 40,000 people are displaced in the Florida area alone.

The damages from the storm are estimated to be worth around $50 billion in Florida and several billion dollars in South Carolina.

Laura Ratz, an economist with Moody’s Analytics, believes that Hurricane Ian is “on track to rank among the more costly natural disasters of recent years.”

On the supply chain side of things, many of the state’s industries and commerce are being impacted by the storm.

With supply chains already trying to recover from various shortages within the last few years, Hurricane Ian’s impact is further disrupting supply chains after production has already been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s war with Ukraine.

Matthew Martin, an economist with Oxford Economics, believes Florida’s and South Carolina’s leisure, hospitality, healthcare, and retail industries will help gauge Hurricane Ian’s economic impact.  

What Affected Pharmacies Can Expect

Independent pharmacies in the Southeastern United States will be impacted by the hurricane in some form or fashion.

On the legislative side of things, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has issued an executive order that allows early prescription refills in the event of the governor declaring a State of Emergency.

Depending on a patient’s insurance plan, early refill restrictions will either be automatically bypassed or require submission clarification codes.

Drug or medical supply shortages are expected. Be in contact with your inventory vendors to see the status of certain shortages and other inventory-related issues, and be ready to fill a large number of partial prescriptions.

A three-day supply is the usual standard, but given the uncertainty of supply chain shortages, it’s best to bump it up to a week’s worth.

For your pharmacy technicians whose renewal deadlines are approaching, the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board announced that those seeking renewal of their license will not be penalized by the impact of Hurricane Ian.

However, techs still need to contact the PTCB in order to avoid any penalty brought about by the hurricane.

Make do with what you have at the moment and always communicate with your patients. The impact of Hurricane Ian is constantly being updated, so stay up-to-date on information and be fully transparent with your customer base.

How to Prepare for Future Disasters

In the event of future disasters, have a concrete evacuation plan for your pharmacy.

Keep important phone numbers such as your wholesaler and local pharmacy board in your phone in case you don’t have an internet connection.

Dr. Brenda Gray, an owner and senior clinical consultant at Clinical Pharmacy Partners, advises that you’ll need those two phone numbers to set up your independent pharmacy at an alternate location.

If you do end up changing locations due to building damage, let your patients know about it. Update your answering machine/IVR message to inform your patients of the situation.

To achieve a smooth transition from one building to another, check if your pharmacy software system has cloud-based capabilities.

PioneerRx Pharmacy Software backs up pharmacies’ data to an off-site cloud server every 15 minutes. This safeguards patient information while ensuring a smooth transition process in times of disaster.

Keep in contact with your PioneerRx support team in case your independent pharmacy is affected by a natural disaster. Our support team will assist you in setting up a mobile hotspot for your independent pharmacy so you can keep your doors open for patients.

Check out our “Hurricane Season Preparedness for Pharmacies” blog for more information on how you can prepare your pharmacy for a natural disaster.

How You Can Help

Hurricanes and other natural disasters are unpredictable and often extremely dangerous, especially in the Atlantic region. Hurricane Ian is a devastating natural disaster, affecting entire areas of Florida and South Carolina.

There are many organizations and charities that you can donate to:

Our thoughts go to everyone affected by Hurricane Ian.

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