NACDS: pharmacies have critical role in pandemic

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ARLINGTON, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores on Wednesday submitted a statement to a House committee arguing that pharmacies have an important role to play in the nation’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The statement was presented during a U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing titled “Road to Recovery: Ramping up COVID-19 Vaccines, Testing and Medical Supply Chain.” 

In the statement, NACDS underscored the critical role that pharmaciespharmacists and pharmacy teams continue to play in the nation’s COVID-19 response and recovery efforts. This includes expanding equitable and convenient access to COVID-19 vaccinations and continuing to provide patient care services – including screening, testing, and vaccinations beyond those related to COVID-19 – to communities and populations in every corner of America. 

Of crucial importance, NACDS noted that America’s retail pharmacies can readily meet demand for 100 million vaccine doses in 30 days assuming available vaccine supply. 

Pharmacies are committed to helping the nation at this critical point, gearing up to expeditiously expand equitable access to COVID-19 vaccinations as they become available and support the nation to eventually recover from the pandemic and emerge stronger than ever,” NACDS president and CEO Steven Anderson wrote in his statement 

“[O]ne of the critical rate-limiting steps to the nation’s recovery is the availability of supply of COVID-19 vaccines – not vaccinators. Pharmacies stand ready to meet the challenge and are prepared to do more to ensure that Americans are vaccinated proficiently, safely, and equitably.” 

NACDS also described the longstanding history of trust that exists between pharmacists and pharmacy teams and those in the greatest need: 

“Pharmacies, pharmacists, and pharmacy staff have played a large role in the success of public health campaigns. This history of trust cannot be overstated and should be leveraged significantly to support efforts to strengthen public confidence in the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines,” NACDS wrote.  

In a 2020 poll conducted by Morning Consult and commissioned by NACDSthree-in-four adults said they trust pharmacists to administer a COVID-19 vaccination, and nearly one-third of adults say they are more likely to get a COVID-19 vaccination if it is available at a pharmacyMore specifically66% of Black Americans and 72% of Hispanics trust pharmacists to provide COVID-19 vaccines. 

To support the nation’s recovery trajectory and strengthen the health and wellness of the nation, NACDS is urging Congress tog:

  • Maintain important authorities established under the Public Readiness and Preparedness (PREP) Act declaration, which have expanded patient access to vaccination and testing services at local pharmacies. 
  • Sustain the ability for pharmacies to provide vaccination, testing, and other preventative services by helping to establish clear and frictionless reimbursement pathways.  
  • Ensure patient access to pharmacy services by expanding the Federal Pharmacy Partnership Program to serve Medicare and Medicaid populations. 

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