NACDS shares state-level public opinion on pharmacies and COVID-19

Sandra Levy
Senior Editor
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Voters strongly support empowering pharmacies and pharmacists to help address COVID-19 fully, according to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Public Opinion Dashboard's state-by-state and national data.

The release of the state data today builds on NACDS’ prior announcement of national poll results. It also complements NACDS’ policy maps that show actions taken by states — and remaining critical needs — to help keep patients on their medications, to help keep pharmacies operating, and to empower pharmacists to provide care to those affected by COVID-19 and other illnesses.

“It is critical for a full COVID-19 response that the federal and state governments remove barriers that hamstring pharmacies and pharmacists. Half-measures will not suffice,” said NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. “For public health and for the health of every American, barriers must be removed to fully empower pharmacies, the most accessible healthcare destinations located within 5 miles of 91% of Americans, and pharmacists, who graduate as doctors of pharmacy.”

Among the national survey’s findings:

  • Ninety percent said it is easy to access pharmacies — the most accessible healthcare destination tested;
  • Seventy-six percent agreed that COVID-19 has shown that public health partners like pharmacies are important and barriers need to be removed, such as some government regulations that prevent pharmacies from being utilized to the fullest extent possible;
  • After learning more about the role of pharmacists, 86% said pharmacists should be allowed to provide tests for COVID-19, and 86% said pharmacists should be allowed to provide a vaccine or other medication to protect against COVID-19 when developed;
  • Eighty-one percent agreed that pharmacists have a role to play in helping patients deal with COVID-19, and 84% agreed that pharmacists have a role to play in helping patients address colds and flu, minor ailments, and management of chronic conditions like diabetes; and
  • Regarding other recommendations offered by pharmacies amid COVID-19, 74% supported pharmacist-provided telehealth services; 77% supported allowing pharmacy technicians to handle more administrative tasks so pharmacists have more time for patient-care services; and 79% supported helping pharmacists make it easier to get medications through early and emergency refills.

The poll was conducted between March 26 to April 2 among a national sample of 9,661 registered voters. The interviews were conducted online, and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of registered voters based on age, educational attainment, gender, race and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus one percentage point.