A primary component of the Health and Human Services fight against the COVID-19 pandemic is widening the availability to testing. On April 8th, they recognized that pharmacists are particularly well-positioned to expand access.
According to HHS Secretary Alex Azar:
Giving pharmacists the authorization to order and administer COVID-19 tests to their patients means easier access to testing for Americans who need it. Pharmacists play a vital role in delivering convenient access to important public health services and information.1
The HHS specified a few reasons why pharmacies can be a key partner in the COVID-19 fight:
- Most American’s live near a big-box, independent, or compounding pharmacy
- Limiting travel times is an important mitigation measure
- Pharmacists have relationships with healthcare providers to appropriately refer sick patients
As a result, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, an operating arm of the HHS, authorized licensed pharmacists to order and administer FDA-approved COVID-19 tests.
Furthermore, they’ll recognize them as “covered persons” under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP), an authorization that limits liability for claims of loss during a health emergency.
For more information, read the official release here.