No, we did it differently in coordination with the health department. With us, all employees have been wearing a face mask for a few days. Incidentally, you do not wear it to protect yourself – but so that others do not become infected if you are infected yourself. Because two days before the first symptoms you can be contagious.
Where did you find the masks now?
My sister sewed them in our medical supply store. In a crisis you have to improvise – and think ahead. For example, immediately after hearing about the outbreak of the virus in Wuhan, I got a list of the active ingredients that are produced there. And then I kept those medicines that contain these active ingredients. This is the only way to deliver many drugs today. Paracetamol, for example, is getting scarce.
Now what do you do to be able to offer it to customers?
I ordered 50 kilograms of the active ingredient directly from China, which should arrive soon.
Then I have it examined by a German laboratory. If the active ingredient has the quality we need, I use it to produce juices and suppositories in our laboratories.
You are really hamstering …
No, I also share the active ingredient with other pharmacies. Incidentally, this is something I really appreciate in the current crisis. Some people help each other again. For example, I recently got a call from a distillery. They wanted to give us 60 liters of ethanol – while others, by the way, charge usury prices for this raw material, because as a pharmacist it can be used to manufacture disinfectants. I found the gesture so beautiful that I later gave the disinfectant made from it by my employees to a nursing home. When it suddenly appeared in the newspaper, a beekeeper and a craftsman came up to us and gave us unnecessary protective suits just in case.
What do you need them for?
You will laugh – but I am currently building a warehouse in the basement with protective clothing such as glasses, suits and so on. If one of our employees got infected, the remaining employees should continue to work in full gear. This is very important, after all, we are one of the few pharmacies that also have a sterile laboratory. There we can manufacture cancer drugs or sterile eye drops. We also manufacture low-dose cardiac medications for very young children, which the pharmaceutical industry does not supply. Where should people get something from when pharmacies close? That’s why I now even have my pharmacy connected to an emergency generator so that we could continue in the event of a power failure.
Mr. Fehske, thank you for the interview.