As COVID-19 started to spread in Connecticut, pharmacist Leslie Asanga noticed people at-risk were still picking up their prescriptions. When he tried to warn customers, he got a surprising response.
“I don’t take my medication, I’m going to die, and then if I get the virus I’m going to die too, so I’m taking my chances,” Asanga recalled hearing from customers.
So Asanga, who recently completed studies at the Yale School of Public Health, launched a service to help them out. It’s called Pills 2 Me.
“Our service brings the medication in an average of two hours from when they make the request,” Asanga said.
Those medically at risk for the virus due to age or being immunocompromised can sign up online. The registration gives a volunteer permission to pick up and deliver their prescriptions from area pharmacies. All of the services are free.
There are 45 Yale University students and faculty standing by to volunteer, and Leslie pairs them with orders as they come in. He says the word is spreading.
“The awareness just started growing organically from word of mouth,” he said.
According to Chapel Street Pharmacy Manager Murali Krishna, fewer people are getting medical procedures that require prescriptions.
“In this case, our business has been reduced significantly,” said Krishna.
The CDC estimates nearly 50-percent of Americans take a regularly prescribed medication each month. Krishna says it’s important for people to continue those routine medications.
“I know it is difficult for them to come and get those medications, that is why we are trying our best to make sure that all of our customers get their medications on time,” said Krishna. Chapel Street Pharmacy also offers same-day or next-day delivery.
Asanga says the work to get people their prescriptions reflects how people come together in a time of need.
There are long-term plans to have the service continue once the pandemic is over. Next week the service will expand to include an option for over-the-counter medication and will also roll out an app to help get delivery requests out sooner.