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People with asthma and COPD assured there's no need to stockpile medicine

The Asthma Society also advised against people acting on misinformation being spread on social media.

The Asthma Society’s Asthma and COPD Adviceline is currently experiencing an unprecedented volume of calls in relation to the coronavirus.
The Asthma Society’s Asthma and COPD Adviceline is currently experiencing an unprecedented volume of calls in relation to the coronavirus.
Image: PA

PEOPLE WITH RESPIRATORY conditions are being assured that there is no shortage of medication for their conditions and that stockpiling isn’t necessary.

The Asthma Society of Ireland is today assuring people who have asthma or COPD that there are medicines there for them, and appealed to patients to refrain from stockpiling medications during the pandemic.

If people do stockpile, it can affect other people with respiratory conditions who are replacing their medicine when they run out.

The Asthma Society has also published advice specifically for asthmatics and those with COPD, after asking the HSE for official advice to combat misinformation that has been spread in the past two weeks.

There are around 380,000 people who have asthma in Ireland, and the 500,000 people with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

Sarah O’Connor, CEO of the Asthma Society of Ireland, said that the Irish Pharmacy Union, the HSE, the Department of Health and various pharmaceutical companies have reassured that there is “a good stock” of asthma and COPD medications in Ireland.

There is no need to order extra medicines than you need for the coming month. This will affect the supply of medicines for others. There is no disruption to the supply of medicines – our Irish supply chains are well-stocked, established and reliable.

She said that in the past two weeks, people with asthma or COPD have expressed concerns that some pharmacies are running out of medications for their condition.

She said that this wasn’t a concern, as pharmacies would simply restock the shelves.

“Re-stocking of pharmacies with these medications was delayed over the weekend due to people with respiratory illnesses panic-buying medications to last several months in recent weeks,” she said.

“We have been reassured that this minor delay was temporary and has been resolved with deliveries to pharmacies in recent days.”

David Delaney, president of Medicines for Ireland, reiterated on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that it wasn’t necessary to stockpile medicines. 

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Misinformation

The Clinical Lead of the National Clinical Respiratory Programme Des Murphy said that the Asthma Society’s coronavirus page is “a trusted resource” for people with asthma and COPD, and asked people to avoid acting on, or spreading misinformation.

“The spreading of misinformation on asthma/COPD management may put lives at risk and causes unnecessary fear and distress to patients and their families.”

Murphy said that during the past week, a lot of people on social media were advising others to avoid taking their preventive inhaler steroids.

The HSE has advised that patients with long-term illnesses should continue taking their prescribed medications unless advised otherwise by their healthcare professional.

It is extremely important at this time that people with asthma and/or COPD continue to take their preventative medication as advised by your healthcare professional unless he/she advises them not to do so. Failing to do so could result in an unnecessary asthma attack, which for some, prove fatal. 

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