Local Maine pharmacies begin to produce hand sanitizer to help with shortage

Published: Mar. 23, 2020 at 6:27 PM EDT
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Hand sanitizer is as tough to come by as anything nowadays. But some local pharmacies, like like Spruce Mountain Pharmacy in Jay, are making it themselves in an effort to help their communities.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services issued an order last week allowing pharmacies that normally compound medication to do that. It came as part of Gov. Mills' state of emergency declaration.

"Now they're allowing compounding pharmacies during this crisis to utilize our skills as compounding pharmacists to make sanitizer to cover the needs at this point in time for our communities," said pharmacist Steve Macki, owner of Spruce Mountain Pharmacy.

They recently moved to their new location on Main St. in December. It has a compounding room that allows them to produce hand sanitizer using an FDA approved formula.

"The ingredients that we are using here -- Good Neighbor Pharmacy hydrogen peroxide 3%, glycerin, isopropyl alcohol, and water we're getting from our distilled water box," said Macki as he pointed them out in the compounding room.

Macki says they're thankful to now be able to produce this for the community in this time of need.

"This is absolutely critical for the health crisis that we're going through right now," said Macki. "To allow pharmacists to be able to use our skills to help the community and provide services that aren't being met through other means, it's absolutely a great component for us, and it's great pride for us as pharmacists to be able to step up to our communities and provide these services that are desperately needed at this time."

Even as important as hand sanitizer is, Macki urges folks to use soap first and foremost and to wash your hands for 20-30 seconds.

"If you've got access to the ability to wash your hands, wash your hands," said Macki. "That's always your first line of defense. Use your hand sanitizer when you're out and about traveling around. That's when you want to be able to have it."

They have a drive-thru where you can call ahead and pick it up in your car. Their number is 207-897-9080.