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Delivering free medicine to COVID-19 patients

There’s an easy way to keep people with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms from going to the store for cough syrup and pain medicine. Give it out for free.

That's what staff and students from Ohio State’s Department of Pharmacy are doing, buying and distributing kits with free cough medicine and Tylenol to Ohio State’s COVID-19 testing stations.

“It’s a simple but innovative solution to keep people home and keep people safe,” said Robert Weber ’80, MS ’82, PharmD ’10, administrator for pharmacy and assistant dean for Medical Center Affairs at the College of Pharmacy. “It seems like a no-brainer to do it. But it’s how we think at Ohio State, simply and clearly to come up with workable solutions.”

Cough medicine and acetaminophen.

Ohio State pharmacy residents are distributing cough medicine and acetaminophen to patients at COVID-19 testing stations.

After Weber and Crystal Tubbs, director of Pharmacy Business and Finance, presented the idea to those in leadership residency positions, such as Morgan Forshay and Andre Fernandes, pharmacy residents began buying and packaging the kits for Ohio State’s COVID-19 testing sites where they’re handed out to those who come in.

By mid-April, the team already had 4,100 kits packaged and ready to distribute.

“We felt compelled to help. It’s a small way to help those suffering from COVID-19,” said Fernandes, a second-year pharmacy resident. “And it is also a method of promoting social distancing and flattening the curve.”

Fernandes grew up in Florida and came to Ohio State after earning his doctor of pharmacy degree. He’ll graduate in May from Ohio State with a master’s in health-system pharmacy administration before beginning work at the medical center as Medication Access manager, helping patients find financial assistance for medications.

He said though he hasn’t been at Ohio State long, he’s been overwhelmed by the sense of community.

“There are so many individuals stepping up,” he said. “Although these are extremely difficult times, it has brought our community together and shown the compassion and care Ohioans and Buckeyes have for one another.”

Published: April 16, 2020

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