The Critical Role of Community Pharmacies in Expanding Testing and Reducing Infections Amid Re-openings
Pharmacy Times® interviewed Rich Tremonte, the executive vice president and president of Community & Specialty Pharmacy at AmerisourceBergen, about the critical role community pharmacies are playing in helping to expand testing and reduce infections amid re-openings in the country. The discussion includes the role of the community pharmacy during the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, how recent policies acknowledge the importance of testing at pharmacies, and how expanding community pharmacies’ ability to test for COVID-19 changed opportunities for rural areas and harder-to-reach populations.
Tremonte noted that expanding community pharmacies role in testing for COVID-19 might help to reduce infections amid reopenings, especially in rural areas. He said, “We continue to know that with hospitals closing and a lack of physicians in the area, many rural pharmacies are really the primary points of care within that community. We know that these pharmacies administering tests and providing care will help prevent the spread of COVID-19, so that's why we continue to work with [the National Association of Chain Drug Stores] and [the National Community Pharmacists Association] to make sure we can get products into the pharmacists’ hands who are well-equipped to administer these tests.”
Tremonte also discussed the importance of advocacy for direct and indirect remuneration fee reform and provider status to help smaller pharmacies survive the pandemic, the impact of COVID-19-related economic decline on medication adherence, and concerns regarding drug shortages in relation to flu season or a second wave of COVID-19.