Resolution filed to investigate number of pharmacy closures after Hurricane Maria
SAN JUAN — Puerto Rico House Labor Affairs Committee Chairman Ángel Peña announced Thursday he will file a resolution to investigate the number of pharmacies that have ceased operations after the onslaught of hurricanes Irma and Maria last September.
According to the representative of Las Piedras, Juncos and San Lorenzo, the investigation would determine whether the current number of operating pharmacies is enough to address residents’ needs, as well as to outline actions to encourage growth of this vital industry on the island.
“We know little about how many pharmacies have ceased operations as a direct consequence of these storms. We understand it is vital to know this number because pharmacies play a crucial role in the health of our people, and it is the government’s interest to rely on a robust network of pharmacies islandwide,” the legislator said in a written statement.
Peña maintained that pharmacies, especially community drugstores, are typically the first resource for residents, not only to get their prescribed medications, but to also receive consultations and to purchase necessities.
Likewise, the resolution seeks to investigate whether the current number of licensed pharmacists in Puerto Rico is sufficient to assess people’s needs.
“We know there is a notable crisis with the exodus of doctors and other personnel related to providing healthcare services to our people. We want to investigate if that exodus also involves licensed pharmacists, who are the first to hand out prescriptions and provide consultation, especially in rural areas where the pharmacist is a trust figure for people. We don’t know how many pharmacists have departed after the hurricanes, but that is something we should promptly focus on to mitigate any situation that could surface because of a lack of these specialists,” he added.