The (Mega) Impact of Pharmacy on Healthcare Part 2: How Pharmacies Can Leverage Experience Gained During COVID-19
In part one of this series, we highlighted how the COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on the vital role that pharmacies play in our healthcare system. Now, we’ll look at the impact of the PREP Act on pharmacy and the potential implications for its future.
The PREP Act and Pharmacies
In response to the pandemic, many state governments invoked the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) to allow pharmacists, pharmacy interns, and pharmacy technicians additional flexibilities, such as ordering and administering ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices) recommended childhood vaccinations, irrespective of state laws or regulations. The PREP Act helped pharmacies across the country quickly pivot and scale their operations to meet the needs of their communities.
The Future of Pharmacy Beyond the PREP Act
Now that the pandemic is beginning to subside, pharmacies are looking to the future and advocating for the PREP Act to be extended beyond its current expiration date of Oct. 1, 2024. In addition, pharmacies are pushing for state laws to be modernized so that there is more uniformity between states.
Pharmacies can continue to collaborate to modernize state laws where there is a gap between allowed pharmacy services and work together to find common issues to advocate for at the national level (e.g., allow pharmacy technicians to administer flu vaccines).
How the Pharmacy Evolution Impacts Labor and Legislation Following the PREP Act
Following the PREP Act, legislation could also positively impact pharmacies as healthcare demands continue to expand during a time when labor is hard to find.
First, pharmacies could consider investments in pharmacy automation solutions and central-fill pharmacies, which allows more empowerment and responsibilities for pharmacy technicians who would need to be specially trained on the equipment. Also, advocacy for legislation to allow pharmacy technicians to administer vaccines (in addition to the COVID-19 vaccine) could provide greater career progression and path for them.
Advocating for Change in Healthcare
As we begin to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s clear pharmacies play a vital role in our healthcare system. The successes achieved by pharmacies during the pandemic provide a strong foundation for advocacy efforts in the future.
By working together and advocating for changes at both the state and national levels, pharmacies can ensure that they are prepared for whatever challenges lie ahead.
About Tension Packaging and Automation
Tension Packaging and Automation has pharmacy automation solutions to help your pharmacy grow as the industry continues to evolve. Contact us today to discuss how we can help.