Medications and Disasters

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If a disaster or emergency turns your life upside down, you still want to have access to your medications – no matter where you end up. Below are some tips to help you continue to have access to medications if there’s a disaster or emergency.

Make sure you have enough

  • Keep an up-to-date list of your medications, including dosage and what you use it for.
  • Know how much medication you have on hand.
  • Get early refills if you think the disaster will disrupt access to your pharmacy.

Keep your medications safe

  • Place medication bottles or packages in water-tight containers (such as plastic containers with lids) if there is a possibility of flooding or other water damage.
  • If you shelter in place and have medications that need refrigeration, either have ice on hand or have a portable back-up power source for your refrigerator.

And don’t forget your pets – the tips above also apply to any medications your pets might need.

Refilling prescriptions

If there’s a disaster, you could run out of a prescription. Whether you shelter in place, are temporarily displaced, or evacuate to a shelter, you should know how to refill your prescriptions.

As part of your disaster preparation planning, ask your providers how you can get prescriptions refilled. Below are some other options that could help you keep prescriptions if there’s a disaster or emergency.

Pharmacist discretion

In Texas, if the doctor who prescribed the medication can’t be reached to authorize a refill, a pharmacist can use their discretion to provide a 30-day refill.

Medicare options

Medicare provides options for getting prescriptions during a disaster or emergency, including using other in-network and out-of-network pharmacies.

Emergency prescriptions

The Emergency Prescription Assistance Program helps people in federally-identified disaster areas who do not have health insurance get the prescriptions they need.

Help from shelters

Your local disaster shelter may be able to help you get prescriptions. Call your local Emergency Management Department to ask how their shelter plans address refilling prescriptions.

Additional information

For more information related to health and disasters, see:


Publication Code: DPR18

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