“Gov. Newsom took important action today in support of California’s commitment to expand the reach of its COVID-19 testing, to advance public health, to ultimately re-open the state safely, and to prepare well for any future needs related to this virus.
“Specifically, the Department of Consumer Affairs is issuing a waiver authorizing pharmacists to order and administer COVID-19 tests, and we look forward to working with them on its implementation, for the good of California and Californians.
“This action builds on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ related guidance of April 8. It removes remaining regulatory barriers to testing. Particularly as testing supplies become more commercially available, this will enable pharmacies and pharmacists to help reach more Californians – and it will certainly go a long way in reaching underserved communities.
“We want to emphasize that just as Californians have helped confront COVID-19 by doing their part with social distancing, we urge patience as pharmacies implement the necessary procedures following this important announcement. Participating pharmacies will work with the state to develop and execute their plans for testing in a safe environment, while testing supplies and personal protective equipment also will need to be in place. There are different types of testing with different types of requirements – including some tests that must be provided outdoors. Safety and health are the top priority. Please do not go to a pharmacy today for a test, but rather ensure that you know and follow the information about availability and procedures that will be announced.
“Pharmacies and pharmacists already have served Californians heroically throughout the response to this pandemic, including serving patients with other health concerns who were in need of a high-quality and accessible health and wellness destination. Gov. Newsom previously took several important actions to remove barriers to this important work. His actions have helped pharmacies stay open and operate efficiently, helped to empower pharmacists to help patients stay on their medication therapies, helped to put patients over paperwork, and helped to foster social distancing through enhanced medication delivery policies. Pharmacies and pharmacists look forward to helping further with other needs, including the COVID-19 testing that is the subject of today’s announcement, and administering a vaccine or other preventive measure when one is developed. It is critical to keep planning and preparing, and we appreciate Gov. Newsom’s action today,” the joint statement said.
Previously, CRA and NACDS wrote to the California Department of Consumer Affairs, urging the removal of remaining COVID-19 testing barriers on pharmacists to advance the ramp-up of testing, the well-being of Californians, and the re-opening of the state.
Opinion research on Californians’ views on pharmacy-related COVID-19 issues can be accessed at NACDS’ dashboard – including the finding that 76% of California voters say pharmacists should be allowed to provide tests for COVID-19, and 78% say pharmacists should be allowed to provide a vaccine or other medication to protect against COVID-19, when developed.