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Pharmacy orgs ask Biden administration to remove prescribing limits on COVID-19 treatments

Fourteen pharmacy organizations are urging for modification to EUAs for oral antivirals in order to achieve the potential of the "test to treat" initiative.

Fourteen pharmacy organizations, including the National Community Pharmacists Association, the American Pharmacists Association and the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, are urging the Biden administration to remove barriers preventing pharmacists from ordering oral antivirals.

The organizations are asking for this in order to expand patient access to the "test to treat" initiative announced during the president’s State of the Union.

[Read more: President Biden unveils "test to treat" COVID-19 initiative

In a letter sent to President Biden, the groups called for the removal of a limitation placed on the emergency use authorization of COVID-19 antivirals by the Food and Drug Administration. The limitation prevents pharmacists from ordering the medications.

Each of the groups stressed that limitations in the EUAs for COVID-19 oral antivirals mean that patients in rural and underserved communities will be less likely to benefit from the test to treat approach.

[Read more: NACDS reminds legislators of role pharmacies, pharmacists played during pandemic

“Despite your statement during the State of the Union, Americans who test positive at a pharmacy will only be able to access time-sensitive oral antivirals, on the spot, from a limited number of pharmacies with in-house access to non-pharmacist prescribers, primarily in metropolitan areas,” the groups noted.

Many states license pharmacists to order medications, either independently or in collaboration with a physician. In September, the Department of Health and Human Services authorized pharmacists in all 50 states to order oral treatments for COVID-19. The EUAs issued in December by the FDA specifically prevent pharmacists from ordering oral antivirals.

[Read more: Pharmacy orgs praise Biden administration's action on DIR fees

Pharmacists are clinically trained medication experts and are the primary healthcare professionals responsible for ensuring safe medication use, including identifying and mitigating drug interactions associated with oral antiviral medications for COVID-19, the groups said.

Signatories include:

  • American Society of Health-System Pharmacists;
  • Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy;
  • American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy; 
  • American College of Apothecaries;
  • American College of Clinical Pharmacy;
  • American Pharmacists Association;
  • American Society of Consultant Pharmacists;
  • College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists;
  • Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association;
  • National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations;
  • National Association of Boards of Pharmacy;
  • National Community Pharmacists Association;
  • National Pharmaceutical Association; and
  • Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists.
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