Pandemic Highlights Pharmacist Opportunities

Pharmacy Times, May 2020, Volume 90, Issue 5

With the outbreak of COVID-19, pharmacists throughout the world are called not just to dispense medications but also, importantly, to be a source of critical information and support for the public.

AS THE MOST ACCESSIBLE HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS IN OUR COMMUNITIES, pharmacists are in the midst of the most significant health care crisis in generations.

With the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), pharmacists throughout the world are called not just to dispense medications but also, importantly, to be a source of critical information and support for the public.

Pharmacists provide patient care in all practice settings, including ambulatory clinics, community health centers, community pharmacies, hospice settings, hospitals, long-term care facilities, managed care organizations, physicians’ offices, specialty pharmacies, and the uniformed services. Several states give pharmacists the authority and training to conduct influenza and strep testing. Additionally, more than 360,000 pharmacists have been trained and certified to administer vaccines.

Pharmacists could become even more involved by being allowed to administer the COVID-19 rapid diagnostic test once it is developed and distributed. There will be a huge demand for COVID-19 vaccinations, and trained and certified pharmacists would be a natural fit for the list of approved providers and should be appropriately compensated.

Pharmacy boards are permitting pharmacist discretion, using professional judgment, in providing patient access to refills of critical medications. Additionally, many states are encouraging home and mail delivery for patients who have been instructed to stay at home.

In this issue, we discuss the numerous ways in which the pandemic affects pharmacists, including telemedicine, professional development, and the need for greater transparency by generic drug manufacturers. In addition, our cover feature provides updates in sunscreen, products that will be essential as the weather warms up and normal life starts to resume.

Last month, Pharmacy Times® hosted the webinar titled “The Value of the Pharmacist in Treating COVID-19.” This well-attended discussion, led by Pharmacy Times® Editor-in- Chief Troy Trygstad, PharmD, PhD, MBA, covered pharmacists’ significant role in treating the outbreak, home delivery, and increased demand for services, including drive-through. Visit pharmacytimes.com/webinars-webcasts/the-value-of-the-pharmacist- in-treating-covid-19 to join experts as they talk about the vital role of pharmacists during the pandemic.

Also be sure to check out our website’s Pharmacy Heroes resource center, which provides clinical articles and news; conference and meeting coverage; and links to condition-specific resources, videos, and other content related to pharmacists and their role in fighting COVID-19.

Please stay healthy and well as you perform your heroic work on behalf of patients.