Locally Owned Pharmacies Struggle with Demand

Locally Owned Pharmacies Struggle with Demand

Regina Yurrita

As pharmacy staff are scrambling to fulfill prescriptions for patients, their focus is on the high demand for medication and over-the-counter drugs. The system is backlogged and patients are now having to wait longer for common medication. 

Susy Del Toro, one of La Botica Health Mart’s pharmacists, has had to close the entire location during lunch hours to give workers a break and time to catch up.

“Tremendously busy, with vitamins, home medicines and anything that has to do with the flu or any type of cold,” said Del Toro.

Many Hispanic people in Coachella rely on Mexican remedies, and employees claim they’ve been low on those products; leaving many of La Botica’s shelves bare during the coronavirus pandemic. 

“A big increase if you can see, some of it is empty, we are waiting for our shipment. Vitamins is a big increase for them, tea is a big increase for them too, we’ve gotten quite a lot of calls for that,” said Del Toro

Even if customers don’t find what they’re looking for, they don’t leave empty-handed. The owner is giving out free protective gear and hand sanitizer.

Del Toro said, “We provide the hand sanitizer, gloves and masks… those are some of our biggest calls.”

While Pharmacists are running low on protective gear, they tend to be less of a priority than front line medical providers, according to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.

However, they’re still working with the public and exposing themselves daily.

“My family is scared for me, but I don’t feel too scared because I feel we’ve taken precautions,” says La Botica Health Mart’s pharmacists Chandra Patel.

In the meantime, the shop is offering a free delivery service while people are under the “stay at home” order — doing their part to help people in the eastern valley.