Sobeys-owned pharmacies struggle to fill prescriptions due to computer problem

A computer problem at Sobeys and Lawtons pharmacies across the country is making it difficult for customers to get their prescriptions filled.

Calls by CBC News to several Sobeys and Lawtons pharmacies throughout the Maritimes on Sunday confirmed the system-wide outage has been happening for at least two days.

Pharmacy staff at some locations said they were not able to access their computers, but could supply customers with a few days worth of pills if they presented their empty bottles.

Staff said they could not be certain when their systems would be fully operational again, but were hoping for later Sunday or Monday.

Frustrated customers

Claire Shea received a text message Friday from Lawtons Drugs on North Street in Halifax that her migraine prescription was ready. But when she went to pick it up on Sunday, staff told her it wasn’t ready.

A frustrated Shea said she was told there was a system issue and staff didn’t know when it would be fixed.

“If you can send me a text saying it’s ready, you can also send me a text saying it’s not ready and then tell me why,” she said.

Shea said if the problem wasn’t rectified by later on Sunday she was going to ask pharmacy staff to manually give her a prescription she could take somewhere else to have filled.

Wasi Rhman of Halifax tried to refill his eight-year-old’s prescription at the same location and was also told the system was down.

Rhman said he is lucky his child’s prescription is for eye drops and not a life-saving medicine, but other people might not be so lucky.

Sobeys has not responded to requests for comment

Some of the chain’s pharmacy locations were completely closed with signs indicating that they could not open because of technical difficulties.

The company has not yet posted any information about the outage on its corporate site or on social media.

CBC News requested information on Saturday and Sunday from Sobeys, the parent company of Lawtons, and is awaiting a reply. 

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