ALEXANDRIA, Va. (April 27, 2020) – The administration’s effort to enlist pharmacies as COVID-19 testing centers must include independent, locally-owned pharmacies, otherwise millions of Americans will be left out, said the National Community Pharmacists Association today.
“One out of five zip codes in the United States don’t have a big chain drug store. They’re served by locally-owned, small business independent pharmacies,” said B. Douglas Hoey, NCPA’s CEO. “If the goal is to expand diagnostic and antibody testing rapidly so the country can go back to work, then the White House really should consider including independent pharmacies in this effort.”
NCPA recently sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence, who heads the White House COVID-19 task force, making multiple recommendations on how neighborhood pharmacies can expand their duty on the front lines of the pandemic. One of them is to make tests available to local pharmacists as soon as possible.
Hoey noted that independent pharmacy covers a wide swath of America where there are few other options. He pointed to recent research showing that there are more than 3,000 zip codes in the U.S. where the only pharmacy is a locally-owned community pharmacy. They’re mostly in rural areas and some urban centers where the big chains don’t have a presence.
“Ramping up diagnostic and antibody testing is an economic and public health imperative,” said Hoey. “So long as that’s the case, it’s very important to enlist all community and chain pharmacies in this effort in the same way that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo did in his executive order.”
To learn more about NCPA, please visit www.ncpa.org.