NGO to deliver meds to isolated patients

A pharmacist NGO is to provide free drug delivery services to chronically ill patients who have difficulty getting their medication because of a Covid lockdown or quarantine.

The Pharmaceutical Care Foundation plans to operate the service from Monday until early May.

It hopes to help up to 600 public hospital patients, including individual patients and those living in care homes for the elderly and the disabled.

To sign up, patients will need to provide their personal information, such as their name, Hong Kong Identity Card number and address, and clinic check-up times.

The foundation is working with the Hospital Authority to ensure that patients joining the scheme are eligible for another prescription without needing to see a doctor.

Its director, Chiang Sau-chu, said they had safeguards in place to ensure the drugs went to the right person.

“We will have loggers and technology gadgets to associate the patient’s name and the [medicine] bag. So the bag will be logged, and this will be transported from the pharmacy onto a van. And in the van we have temperature control devices to ensure the right temperature during the journey,” she told an online press conference on Sunday.

Chiang said when the deliverer arrives at the patient’s home, he or she will also verify the identity of the patient by checking a phone message that had been sent to them.

She said they have a team of about 50 volunteers, led by around ten pharmacists and nurses. The rest of them are local pharmacy school students.

Besides medication delivery, pharmacists will also explain to patients how they should take their drugs through remote support.

The scheme is fully sponsored by the Hong Kong Coalition, of which former Chief Executives Tung Chee-hwa and CY Leung serve as chief convenors.