The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) released a statement explaining that this October for American Pharmacists Month, the organization wishes to acknowledge the role of pharmacists as the most accessible point of health care for patients, particularly among those in the greatest need.

“This year, the appreciation and honor for these heroes must intensify to match the essential service they have provided to individuals, communities and the nation during the most severe public health crisis in the past century,” the NACDS said in a press release.

The NACDS noted that in light of the critical role that pharmacists have played this year in the fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, public policy should be implemented that allows pharmacists to more fully serve the needs of Americans now and into the future.

There are a few key areas in particular that, if changed, could allow pharmacists to more fully serve their communities, the NACDS explained.

Firstly, pharmacists should be allowed to meet and serve the needs of Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. Secondly, pharmacists should be able to operate with fewer barriers and greater flexibility, not only during the pandemic, but also in the future.

Thirdly, pharmacists should be able to provide an enhanced array of health care services that reflect the extent of their training and expertise. Fourthly, pharmacists should earn fair reimbursement for their services, which not only protect Americans, but also reduce overall health care costs.

Lastly, pharmacists should be allowed to serve as part of the solution to other ongoing health and wellness threats that have been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the opioid epidemic.

“NACDS applauds our pharmacists,” NACDS said in the release. “We also insist on federal and state government actions that are non-negotiable if government leaders truly wish to help pharmacists help their constituents during public health’s greatest time of need—and beyond.”

American Pharmacists Month: More Than a Commemoration. Arlington, VA: National Association of Chain Drug Stores; October 2, 2020. Accessed October 2, 2020.