The National Association of Chain Drug Stores, and the National Community Pharmacists Association have both issued statements commending President Biden’s recently unveiled “National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness".
“President Biden’s plan demonstrates action in critical areas that are essential for getting safe and effective vaccines to Americans’ arms, efficiently and equitably. Among its proactive steps, NACDS appreciates that the Administration will activate the Federal Pharmacy Partnership Program in the next two weeks," said Steve Anderson, president and CEO of NACDS. "NACDS also appreciates the focus on ensuring a data-driven response to COVID-19 and to future public health threats – a vision on which NACDS members can add considerable value.
Anderson noted that Biden's plan makes progress in terms of expanding COVID-19 testing, reimbursement and coverage, while also enhancing pharmacists' scope of practice to enable them to help overcome the pandemic alongside other healthcare professionals.
“The establishment of a health equity task force focused on enhancing vaccine confidence also is a crucial step,” Anderson said. “Pharmacies, pharmacists and pharmacy teams are local and highly trusted – and can help to engage in the conversations that are essential to vaccine confidence, across races and ethnicities, and in rural and urban settings.”
As he has previously noted, Anderson highlighted the role that pharmacies can play in vaccinations for COVID-19.
“By virtue of their extensive experience collaborating with public health, pharmacies also are key to standing up mass clinics and mobile clinics," he said. "We all know that vaccine supplies remain the rate-limiting step at this time, yet pharmacies can meet the demand for 100 million vaccinations in one month assuming such supplies are available. There is a pharmacy within five miles of 90% of Americans, and pharmacies are committed to going the extra miles, too, to help vaccinate all Americans. We look forward to continuing to work with the Biden Administration in this important work of protecting Americans and their livelihoods, overcoming the pandemic, and returning us all to what we need and love.”
NCPA CEO Doug Hoey highlighted the role that independent pharmacies have played throughout the pandemic — from implementing in-store safety measures and adding delivery services and curbside pickup to compounding hand santizier and even administering COVID-19 vaccinations in some areas.
“We’ve shared with the administration how, when engaged by local health departments, community pharmacies are successfully battling the COVID-19 disease," Hoey said. "As demonstrated in the success of vaccine rollout plans in places like West Virginia, Arkansas and Alaska, small business independent pharmacies must be included in COVID-19 immunization strategies, whether federal or local, if those plans are to be realized.
“We are eager to work with the new administration on these and other important initiatives and applaud its efforts thus far. NCPA and the more than 21,000 independent pharmacies stand ready to assist.”