A community-based pharmacist, serving Bayonne amid the pandemic

Peter Komosinski has worked at Jerry's Drug for more than 30 years

Peter Komosinski, pharmacist-in-charge at Jerry's Drug in Bayonne.
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Peter Komosinski, pharmacist-in-charge at Jerry's Drug in Bayonne.

Through thick and thin, pharmacists at Jerry’s Drug continue to serve the Bayonne community amid the ongoing pandemic.

Peter Komosinski, pharmacist-in-charge at Jerry’s Drug, has been working at the establishment since 1999. He started as a delivery driver through high school and college, eventually becoming the head pharmacist.

Growing up in Bayonne, Komosinski knows the community, medical providers, patients, and customers.

Komosinski said that at first, many of the changes were hard to adjust to with social distancing. However, the pharmacy is making it work despite the limited space.

Now, everyone in the store is wearing masks at all times and sanitizing surfaces frequently. A pickup window is located at the front of the store for residents to pick up there prescriptions safely, in-person, while social distancing.

Meanwhile, Komosinski said that the delivery service at the pharmacy has doubled. Residents can have their prescriptions delivered to their homes, online, or through a mobile app.

Prescription shortages

Initially, there was a lot of panic among some patients and customers, according to Komosinski. People wanted to make sure they had enough medication for 90 days.

Initially, the first three to four weeks of the stay-at-home order were very busy as people rushed to get their meds.

Now, things have slowed down as patients adjust to the new normal. Komosinski said that now that patients and customers know that the store is open and that they can get their medications, the rush has slowed down.

One of those drugs was Hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug touted by President Trump as a treatment for COVID-19, despite doctors’ opposition to its use for COVID-19. Komosinski said that due to the drug being used as a treatment for COVID-19, the pharmacy found it in short supply.

Komosinski told the Bayonne Community News that Lupus patients who use Hyrdoxychloroquine to treat the disease couldn’t get their vital medications. It was tough sourcing the drug for a while.

However, as more effective treatments have been discovered, the drug has fallen out of use to treat COVID-19. As a result, the drug is is becoming slightly easier to find.

Komosinski said it was a little overwhelming. However, nothing that that he couldn’t manage.

The increase in prescription volume, along with everything else, was a challenge. Fears of the virus or a potential positive patient coming in to pick up his or her prescription left staff on edge.

Community-based pharmacy

It is the strong relationships Komosinski has with his patients and customers that helped ease tensions as the weeks wore on.

“We’re lucky we are a community-based pharmacy,” Komosinski said. “We have a great relationship with our customers, and they do appreciate us being there for them.”

Customers have expressed their thanks for the pharmacy’s delivery service. Getting their medications delivered is helping seniors who are afraid to leave their homes receive life-saving medication.

“We continue to help our patients, and as a pharmacy we are very accessible,” Komosinski said.

That accessibility comes at cost. Komosinski fears of bringing the virus home to his family.

Patients and customers he has helped for years and years have died from the virus. Komosinski said the loss of life takes an emotional toll because he knows the community and its residents well.

As the curve flattens and the city reopens, residents can be assured that they can get their medications from Peter Komosinski at Jerry’s Drug.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.