Pharmacist Advocacy Groups Call for New Action to Enhance COVID-19 Patient Care
- Authorize Test-Treat-Immunize: Allow pharmacists to order, collect specimens, conduct and interpret tests and, when appropriate, initiate treatment for infectious diseases including COVID-19, flu, strep, and interpret and discuss options with patients. Expand current state pharmacists’ immunization authority to include all FDA approved vaccines, including the forthcoming novel vaccine for COVID-19, for all indicated populations.
- Ease Operational Barriers to Address Workforce and Workflow Issues: Allow pharmacists and pharmacy technicians with valid licenses to operate across state lines, including via telehealth. Authorize pharmacists and pharmacy staff to conduct routine pharmacy tasks remotely as necessary (i.e., prescription data entry and script verification), including those licensed outside the state.
- Address Shortages and Continuity of Care: In addition to existing authority, authorize pharmacists providing direct patient care to individual patients to conduct therapeutic interchange and substitution with appropriate physician notification when product shortages arise. The FDA should identify drugs that are in, or at risk, of shortage and work with firms to extend expiration dates. Require manufacturers to provide the FDA with more information on the causes of shortages and their expected durations and allow public reporting of this information.
- Reimburse for Services and Remove Barriers: Provide coverage for services delivered by pharmacists if within scope of practice and covered for other healthcare providers. Remove the specific day's supply requirement from co-pay waivers for essential, life-sustaining medications to ensure continuous access when medication is in shortage or needs to be rationed. Remove restrictions and cover home or mail delivery. Assure access to testing, treatment, and pharmacists services for patients without adequate access to services.
Read the full text of the Pharmacy Organization’s Joint Policy Recommendations to Combat the COVID-19 Pandemic (PDF).
Founded in 1900, AACP is the national organization representing the interests of pharmacy education. AACP is comprised of all accredited colleges and schools with pharmacy degree programs, including more than 6,500 faculty, 60,600 students enrolled in professional programs and 4,400 individuals pursuing graduate study. To learn more about AACP, visit www.aacp.org.