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Access to pharmacy services is game-changer on local level

In his latest column, DSN editor-in-chief Nigel Maynard points out how retail pharmacy expanded its scope during the pandemic, but sees its greatest impact at the state level.
Nigel F. Maynard
Editorial Director

There’s a saying that “all politics is local.” The same thinking can be applied to retail pharmacies, especially as they transition into becoming healthcare destinations. You only need to look at the last three years or so to see what I mean.

Everyone in the industry is now familiar with the story: When the pandemic hit, retail pharmacies stepped up in neighborhoods, providing services, COVID-19 testing, vaccinations and even seeing patients for a variety of ailments and issues. Retail pharmacies were supporting their communities (large and small) from East to West and in every area in between.

“But everyone knows that waiting for Congress to act on legislation is about the long game — very long.”

Naturally, retail pharmacy wants to hold onto the gains and strides it made during the pandemic and is eyeing changes at the federal level. But everyone knows that waiting for Congress to act on legislation is about the long game — very long. Focusing on state legislation probably yields better results.

[Read more: Pharmacy as a healthcare destination benefits aging work population]

“I think there’s a good opportunity to work at the federal level and see what we can make permanent, since we’ve made so many strides at that level,” Sara Roszak, senior vice president of health and wellness strategy and policy at NACDS, told Drug Store News a couple of months ago. “But at the same time, we continue to do outreach and pursue efforts at the state level.”

In other words, you have to think local. For this month’s cover story, we take a look at what’s been happening at the state level. Who allows what, which ones create an atmosphere that allows pharmacists to practice at the top of their license and which ones are the most progressive?

[Read more: Reimagining the retail front end]

Our list of nine states is by no means comprehensive, but it gives you a glimpse of those that give patients access to the panoply of pandemic and nonpandemic-related health services provided by pharmacists.

“The more we can unleash these services, the more value there will be for the public,” said Mike Ayotte, senior vice president of pharmacy, transformation and advocacy at NACDS. “People want to get services that are local, accessible and work on their timelines.”

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