Pharmacists Adapt to Fill Critical Needs During COVID-19 Pandemic
In addition to offering curbside pick-up, drive-thru and delivery services, Iowa pharmacists are now performing additional needed services, such as administering long-acting injectable medications.As the current public health emergency evolves, pharmacists are continuously adapting to provide critical services in communities with need.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmacies have offered curbside pick-up, drive-thru and delivery services to ensure patients receive necessary medications in a safe manner. Now, Iowa pharmacists are performing additional needed services, such as administering long-acting injectable medications including behavioral health and birth control medications.
Clark's Pharmacy in Cedar Rapids is one of many Iowa pharmacies rising to the need of its community. After home nurse programs in Cedar Rapids were shut down, Clark's Pharmacy saw an increased need for patients to receive injectable medications. The pharmacists are able to administer injections for patients who would not otherwise have access without visiting an emergency room. Pharmacy owner Craig Clark stated, “If we can keep these patients out of the hospital, we did our small part.”
Bedford Drug in Bedford is also providing this critical service. Administering long-acting injectable medications at the local pharmacy eliminates a 40-mile round-trip visit to receive the injections from the next closest provider. Alternately, according to pharmacy owner Michael Schweitzer, these patients can walk one mile to receive the injectable medications at their pharmacy. While this important service is more accessible at the local pharmacy, pharmacists are unable to be paid for this service as they are not recognized as healthcare providers.
Iowa Pharmacy Association's Executive Vice President & CEO, Kate Gainer, stated, “Iowa pharmacists have always stepped up to provide care when needed in their communities. The COVID-19 pandemic shines a light on the critical role pharmacists play in our healthcare system. Pharmacists need to be recognized as healthcare providers in order to provide these important services during the pandemic and post-pandemic.”