NACDS highlights pharmacies’ role in COVID-19 antiviral medication distribution

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores issued a statement on the role pharmacies can play in the rollout of COVID-19 antiviral drugs.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has taken to print and broadcast to spread the message of the important role that pharmacies can play in the rollout of COVID-19 antiviral drugs.

The media efforts included a televised interview with the organization’s senior vice president of health and wellness strategy and policy Sara Roszak.

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

Speaking on Fox News’ “Special Report with Bret Baier,” Roszak emphasized the need to address policies that splinter the patient journey for COVID antivirals and that hinder ready access to these medications within days of the symptoms’ onset.

In addition, NACDS also said that it will continue to urge the Biden Administration to make at least two changes to the rollout of the COVID antiviral drugs in order to help maximize access, convenience and equity for patients. 

[Read More: NACDS applauds passage of Opioid Prescription Verification Act]

These changes include:

  • Emergency use authorization for the antivirals should be updated to reflect the ninth amendment to the PREP Act declaration — thus allowing pharmacists to assess a patient, prescribe an antiviral if appropriate and initiate this treatment; and 
  • Pandemics require nimble solutions, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services should determine a method to help ensure payers reimburse pharmacies adequately for the time-intensive nature and unique expenses associated with dispensing these antivirals.

NACDS also shared that CBS News and NBC News shared its quotes on the critical issue. The statement by Roszak said, “the reimbursement issue is very much a real problem that we are hearing from our members and quite frankly, this is a situation that will only get worse as antivirals are available in greater quantities.”

[Read More: NACDS, HPP report highlights role pharmacies play during health emergencies]

“Aligning with pharmacists’ authority under the PREP Act would allow the patient to come to the pharmacy, have the clinical assessment done, have their tests done at the pharmacy, and then be able to come back to that same location and pick up their medication if they are indicated to receive it,” the organization said. “What we’ve seen here is the splintering of the patient journey, which can increase frustration and delay medications that need to be put to work quickly in order to be effective.”

Lastly, the organization shared thoughts on how the PREP Act affects how pharmacists can do their jobs. “There’s currently a gap between what the PREP Act allows pharmacists to do and then what the emergency use authorization [of the antivirals] does not allow them to do, essentially splintering the patient journey. We believe that that increases frustration and delays the use of medication that needs to be given to patients really quickly to be effective,” the organization said. 

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