NACDS hails 4 Arkansas laws expanding pharmacists’ roles

Sandra Levy
Senior Editor
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The National Association of Chain Drug Stores is applauding four new laws that will enhance Arkansans’ access to pharmacist-provided healthcare services. Among the gains in the laws is the ability for pharmacists to test and treat certain conditions, the ability to prescribe and administer vaccinations to anyone older than 3 years old, prescribing and dispensing birth control. One also allows pharmacy technicians to administer immunizations on behalf of a pharmacist. 

On April 1, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law Act 503 led by State Rep. Lee Johnson. The new law allows pharmacists to test and treat flu, strep and other health conditions that can be screened using CLIA-waived rapid-result tests and that may be adopted by rule of the Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy.

On March 22, Hutchinson signed into Act 406 sponsored by State Rep. Justin Boyd, granting Arkansas pharmacists the ability to prescribe and administer all vaccinations and immunizations to individuals ages three or older. The same day, Hutchsinson signed Act 408, allowing pharmacists to to initiate therapy and administer or dispense oral contraceptives, as well as Act 407, which permits Arkansas pharmacy technicians to administer vaccinations and immunizations to individuals ages three years or older if delegated by a supervising pharmacist.

“We commend Gov. Hutchinson and the Arkansas state legislature for their strong leadership in advancing legislation which greatly increases patient access to healthcare services provided by highly trained and educated pharmacists and their staff teams,” said NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. “Nearly 500 member pharmacies are located throughout the State of Arkansas – each providing easy access to various healthcare services in underserved, rural and urban communities. Throughout the pandemic, community pharmacies and pharmacists have helped patients maintain critical access to the quality care they need and deserve, and Arkansas’ new legislation will help expand these crucial access points during COVID-19 and beyond.”