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NACDS survey underlines Americans’ view on pharmacy, pandemic response

Respondents gave pharmacies the highest ratings for ease of access among an array of healthcare destinations.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores is sharing results from a Morning Consult survey on Americans' views on pharmacy amid the pandemic.

The survey, commissioned by the organization, was conducted from Feb. 15 to 16, and asked participants a variety of questions that ranged from the pandemic response to potential actions related to COVID-19 antivirals. 

“As NACDS advocates on COVID antiviral issues — including enhancements to the patient journey and reimbursement to pharmacies sufficient to cover costs – a new study sheds light on Americans’ views,” NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson said.

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

Initial survey results include the following:

  • Respondents gave pharmacies the highest ratings for ease of access among an array of healthcare destinations – including doctors, emergency rooms, nurses, primary care physicians, and specialist physicians.
  • Among entities working to address COVID-19, only hospitals received a higher rating than pharmacies for their response, based on the percentage of respondents who rated the entities’ response as either “excellent” or “good.” Other entities tested included pharmaceutical companies, doctors’ offices and various government agencies.
  • Strong majorities of respondents express support for pharmacists testing a patient for COVID-19, for pharmacists prescribing COVID-19 antiviral medication based on a patient’s full health profile, and for offering COVID-19 antiviral medication at pharmacies.

[Read More: NACDS issues statement regarding OTC COVID-19 tests at retail pharmacies]

In addition, the survey asked respondents to consider two potential actions related to COVID-19 antivirals — the United States allowing pharmacists to prescribe antiviral medications, and the possibility of increasing the reimbursement paid to pharmacies to fully cover the cost of the medication. 

The survey explained that the government previously had taken action to allow pharmacists to prescribe COVID-19 antiviral medications during the public health emergency, but that the antiviral medications’ emergency use authorization did not include pharmacists among those who can prescribe them.

A majority of respondents said each of these actions — pharmacists prescribing and increasing reimbursement to fully cover pharmacies’ costs — would have a mostly positive impact on COVID-19 hospitalization; the ability to find care for COVID-19 symptoms; health equity; the convenience of receiving care for COVID-19; and correct use of COVID-19 antiviral medications.

[Read More: NACDS, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security highlight pharmacy’s role in health equity]

Anderson noted that the survey results may have implications for issues far beyond COVID antivirals – including efforts to sustain beyond the pandemic the authorities and flexibilities that have helped pharmacies serve Americans with such effectiveness.

“One thing is for sure: NACDS views these survey results as a further testament to the amazing work of pharmacies and pharmacy teams in saving lives and livelihoods throughout the past two years and beyond,” Anderson said.

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