July 17, 2024

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NACDS lauds major victory for patient access

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NACDS lauds major victory for patient access
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NACDS lauds major victory for patient access

ARLINGTON, Va. –The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) applauds the Biden Administration’s announcement today that it plans to preserve much of the pharmacy access that is now relied on and expected by Americans, through moves advocated by NACDS for more than a year.

In a fact sheet issued today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that, among other actions, it plans to issue a new amendment under the current declaration of the PREP Act (Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act) that will extend through December 2024 selected current amendments that facilitate pharmacy access.

NACDS president and CEO Steven C. Anderson said:

“We appreciate the Biden Administration announcing its plans to take action to help sustain patients’ access to pharmacies, pharmacists, and pharmacy teams for vaccinations and testing. As NACDS has urged consistently and repeatedly, the clarifications and extensions announced today are vital for patient health and access, and essential for pharmacies’ planning. Of particular importance is the extension until December 2024 of the ability of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy interns to provide COVID-19 vaccinations and tests, and to provide flu shots down to age three. As NACDS has emphasized, this is important for pharmacy capacity and for patient experience. We cannot emphasize enough how important this is for flu vaccination access in particular.

“NACDS continues to urge states to use this time to safeguard patient access by codifying swiftly at the state level all of the current PREP Act pharmacy-access amendments. Also, NACDS continues to urge the U.S. Congress to address another missing link: establishing the reliable Medicare payment mechanisms that are part of the necessary infrastructure for pharmacy services. It is critical that Congress pass and enact the Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act (H.R. 1770) — bipartisan legislation backed by nearly 200 groups representing patients, seniors, rural Americans, hospitals, health systems, pharmacists, and pharmacies. Seniors deserve access to the services available in pharmacies.

“America’s pharmacies and pharmacy teams continue to serve valiantly as the face of neighborhood healthcare. Notably, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they have administered more than 301 million COVID-19 vaccinations — with 50 percent of those shots administered in underserved areas. According to a study published in theJournal of the American Pharmacists Association, during the pandemic pharmacists saved 1 million lives, kept 8 million people out of the hospital, and prevented $450 billion in healthcare costs.”

NACDS also noted polling that shows Americans prioritize pharmacy access for the future:

  • A poll by Morning Consult, commissioned by NACDS and conducted December 7-12, 2022, found that 64 percent of American adults – including majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents – believe “Learning the lessons of the pandemic means keeping in place policies that make it easier for patients to access services from pharmacists and other pharmacy team members – including vaccinations.” Among those 65 years and older, the level of support jumps to 77 percent.
  • Also, 86 percent of adults – and an amazing 96 percent of those 65 years and older – say it is “very easy” or “somewhat easy” to access pharmacies – making them the most accessible healthcare destination tested.

On its Public Opinion Dashboard, NACDS makes available national, state, and Congressional District polling data providing insights on American adults’ attitudes toward related topics.

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