FDA’s Decision to Block Pharmacists from Ordering COVID-19 Oral Antivirals Will Hurt COVID Positive Patients, National Pharmacy Groups Warn

NCPA, APhA, ASCP, ASHP, NASPA and question why the agency is not allowing COVID-positive patients to get critical, timely treatment from their local pharmacist

NCPA December 22, 2021

Alexandria, VA (December 22, 2021)– The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), American Pharmacists Association (APhA), American Society of Consulting Pharmacists (ASCP), American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP), and the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations (NASPA) today issued the following statement in response to the FDA’s decision to authorize the Pfizer COVID-19 oral antiviral but specifically prevent pharmacists from writing the prescriptions:

The Food and Drug Administration’s decision to grant an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the first COVID-19 oral treatment is a welcome development in the fight against COVID-19. However, FDA created an unnecessary hurdle for access to this important new treatment option.

 “Pharmacists have ordered and administered nearly 200 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines and vast numbers of COVID-19 tests. They have immunized more Americans than any other category of health care provider, and they have been instrumental in the success of the COVID vaccine program. It makes absolutely no sense to restrict their ability to help patients rapidly mitigate the severity of COVID-19 symptoms just as the most aggressive strains of the virus to date are driving up hospitalizations and fatalities across the country. 

“The federal government has already authorized pharmacists to order and dispense oral therapeutics under the PREP Act. The FDA’s authorization nullifies that authority with no explanation or justification. 

“Pharmacists are educated, trained, and able to assess patients in accordance with clinical guidelines for appropriate use of these more convenient COVID-19 treatment options. The oral antivirals are most effective when taken early in the infection. Time is of the essence. Requiring patients to make an appointment with another prescriber just to get a prescription that their pharmacist will fill adds time, cost, and inconvenience but most concerning of all, it could cause hospitalizations and even deaths. The ability of pharmacies to be a one-stop shop for testing, patient assessment, ordering, and dispensing would be a game-changer for timely access to these needed treatments—just as it has been for the administration of COVID vaccines.”

For more information about NCPA, please visit www.ncpa.org.


Founded in 1898, the National Community Pharmacists Association is the voice for the community pharmacist, representing nearly 19,400 pharmacies that employ approximately 215,000 individuals nationwide. Community pharmacies are rooted in the communities where they are located and are among America’s most accessible health care providers. To learn more, visit www.ncpa.org.