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Pharmacists Provide Care During COVID-19 and Always

Tuesday, April 7, 2020   (0 Comments)
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2020

Pharmacists Provide Care During COVID-19 and Always

Montgomery, Ala.According to the Pharmacy Organizations Joint Recommendations to Combat the COVID-19 Pandemic, “Pharmacists are at the front-line providing essential patient care services during this public health crisis. They are among the nation’s most accessible healthcare professionals, with 90 percent of Americans living within five miles of a community pharmacy. They are medication experts, providing patient care in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, community pharmacies, long-term care, the medical home, and physician offices.” As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop, pharmacists will courageously remain on the front lines to continuously serve their patients and meet their medication needs.

Hospital pharmacists are playing a vital role in the health-system setting to care for the most acutely ill patients diagnosed with COVID-19 by providing pharmacotherapy recommendations on the limited treatment options that are currently available.  Drug development studies and clinical trials for a vaccine against COVID-19 are currently underway, and community pharmacists stand ready and willing to immunize and educate their patients as soon as a vaccine becomes available to the public.

Additionally, pharmacists provide countless services such as management of chronic disease states, smoking cessation, protecting patients from potentially harmful drug interactions, counseling patients on prescription medications, assisting in selection of over-the-counter medications and administering vaccinations to the community. As the COVID-19 crisis expands, pharmacists continue to serve their patients by providing these vital services.  In particular, pharmacists are working to ensure patients are continuing their maintenance medications for chronic diseases.  Without these medications, patients would require more visits to their primary care providers and possible hospitalization for exacerbations of these diseases, placing patients at a greater risk of acquiring COVID-19.

“Pharmacists truly are the most accessible healthcare provider. No appointment is necessary to see them. Pharmacists are the medication experts equipped with the drug knowledge and skills to educate, serve and protect their patients,” said Erin Creasy, a member of the APA COVID-19 Response Team.

Alongside recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Alabama Board of Pharmacy (ALBOP), the Alabama Pharmacy Association (APA) supports practicing social distancing methods in all pharmacy settings to help do their part in “flattening the curve.” Avenues to practice social distancing may include utilization of curb-side or home delivery, drive-thru services, use of plastic shields at pharmacy counters or designation of appropriate separated waiting areas for patients. Many pharmacists have expressed that they are more than willing to provide patients with requested over-the-counter medications through the drive-thru to limit both patient and staff exposure. Patients are encouraged to utilize and adhere to these social distancing methods to protect themselves and pharmacy staff. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, pharmacies will remain accessible for patients to obtain both their acute and chronic medications.        

“While pharmacists are caring for patients during this unprecedented time, it is very important to make sure they and their staff are protected from COVID-19.  This is important to not only keep them healthy and able to perform their vital services, but also to avoid passing the virus on to other patients,” said Dr. Spencer Durham, an infectious diseases pharmacist, member of Governor Kay Ivey’s Alabama COVID-19 Task Force, and head of the APA COVID-19 Response Team. “We strongly encourage pharmacies to implement social distancing measures as much as possible during this pandemic.”

The Alabama Pharmacy Association is a nonprofit professional organization with over 2,500 members statewide. APA members take a leading role in lobbying for pharmacy at the state and national level. APA was established in 1881 and is the oldest professional organization for pharmacy in the state. Members represent all practices of pharmacy and are committed to their profession and their patients. For more information visit www.aparx.org.

 

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