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NACDS: Americans expect pharmacy access to continue

NACDS is detailing the actions needed by the Biden Administration and Congress to prevent a forced rollback of pharmacy access and pandemic policies.
Sandra Levy
Senior Editor
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The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has found that Americans see a difference between rolling back pharmacy access and rolling back broader pandemic policies — and that the Biden Administration and Congress should, too.

NACDS announced that a new poll conducted by Morning Consult from Dec. 7 to 12 found that 64% of American adults — including majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents – believe “Learning the lessons of the pandemic means keeping in place policies that make it easier for patients to access services from pharmacists and other pharmacy team members – including vaccinations.”

Meanwhile, only 20% believe it is time to return to all policies that were in place before the pandemic, including those that limit patients’ access to services provided by pharmacists and other pharmacy team members.

Consistent with the new poll and with the impending end to pandemic policies, NACDS conveyed again to the Biden Administration and to Congress the increasing urgency of preventing forced reductions in patients’ access to pharmacy services that now are widely expected.

[Read more: NACDS report highlights role local pharmacies, pharmacists play in patient-centered services]

“If this capacity goes away, Americans’ vaccination experience will be characterized by lack of access, especially for children and families, longer wait times and frustration,” wrote NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson to Biden Administration officials and to members of Congress. “The current ‘triple-demic’ of COVID-19, flu, and RSV demonstrates that our nation will continue to experience spikes in vaccination demand.”

NACDS is urging the Biden Administration to ensure pharmacy authorities related to vaccination, testing and treatment do not end with the public health emergency or with the transition of COVID-19 countermeasures to commercial markets. NACDS also continues urgent calls for the U.S. Congress to pass the Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act (H.R. 7213).

Anderson said that inaction on these issues “keeps patients in a guessing game about pharmacy access, and keeps pharmacies in a guessing game about pharmacy operations.”

NACDS said that pharmacy teams continue to give two in every three COVID-19 vaccinations, with the total number rapidly approaching 300 million, and more than 40% of individuals vaccinated for COVID-19 at a pharmacy are from underserved areas.

[Read more: NACDS, Johns Hopkins report: Pharmacies play a vital role in achieving health equity]

In another finding of the poll described by NACDS, pharmacies remain the most accessible healthcare destinations tested, with 86% of American adults saying it is “very easy” or “somewhat easy” to access pharmacies.