ALEXANDRIA, Va. (May 28, 2020) – The National Community Pharmacists Association joined hundreds of advocacy groups this week on a letter urging Congress to pass so-called Good Samaritan legislation that would shield businesses from lawsuits sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The wave of lawsuits is already building, and it’s important for Congress to protect front-line health care providers who are operating in good faith to serve their communities,” said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey.
The massive coalition of organizations represents health care providers, industry groups, non-profits, and educational institutions, all of whom are potentially at risk of being dragged into court despite taking every precaution to protect their employees, patients, and customers. Considering the scale of the national emergency, the flood of lawsuits that could follow will wipe out many of them.
“Absent a targeted safe harbor for those that work to follow applicable guidelines, the fear and uncertainty from boundless liability threatens to impede our country’s social and economic recovery,” said the coalition letter, sent Wednesday. “In the wake of prior crises, Congress came together to pass timely and targeted liability protections with strong bipartisan support because lawmakers understood the acute economic threat of lawsuits at moments of maximum economic vulnerability. And while Congress has acted to provide some limited COVID-19-related liability protections for volunteer healthcare providers and some manufacturers of PPE in the CARES Act, much more must be done.”
Hoey noted that local pharmacies are critical to the country’s health care infrastructure. They’ve been open since the beginning of the crisis at great risk to their owners and employees.
“In many communities, the local pharmacist was the only health care provider open,” he said. “They’ve been compounding hand sanitizer, expanding home deliveries, offering curbside service, counseling patients, and dispensing the medicines that millions of Americans can’t do without. They shouldn’t have to look over their shoulder for lawsuits.”