With the deepening of the COVID-19 crisis has come some important updates about access to HIV medications, both for treatment and prevention. Recently, the Ministry of Health issued new guidance to pharmacists about dispensing medications, including HIV medications, during the COVID-19 emergency.

To lessen the risk of drug shortages that could result from increased demand due to the pandemic and to ensure that sufficient medication will be available, the Ministry is recommending that pharmacists dispense no more than a 30-day supply of Ontario Drug Benefit(ODB)-eligible medications, including HIV medications. This means that those who have traditionally refilled their HIV and other medications every three months will now be limited to monthly refills unless the pharmacist uses their professional judgement and continues to provide a longer supply at the patient’s request.

Note that the ministry policy for refilling a prescription for an ODB recipient remains as it has been: i.e., no more than ten days in advance of depleting their current supply. While at this time there are no shortages in supply, it’s important that you discuss your current access and your plans in the event of a shortage with your health care providers and pharmacist. Go here to learn more.