NACDS offers recommendations to Biden Administration to help operationalize pharmacist prescribing of COVID antivirals

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ARLINGTON, Va. — NACDS submitted on Tuesday recommendations to the Biden Administration that would help operationalize improved access to Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir and ritonavir) and maximize public benefit of this treatment, particularly among individuals at high-risk of progression to severe COVID-19.

NACDS’ recommendations follow the July 6 announcement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revising the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Paxlovid “to authorize state-licensed pharmacists to prescribe Paxlovid to eligible patients, with certain limitations to ensure appropriate patient assessment and prescribing of Paxlovid.”

NACDS applauded the critical revision in a recent press release. NACDS also has urged the Administration to resolve barriers resulting from restrictions placed on pharmacists’ prescribing of the antivirals, as well as the lack of a reliable reimbursement model for this service.

NACDS urged the following recommendations in the letter:

  1. FDA should support additional strategies for pharmacists to meet requirements for “sufficient information” on renal and hepatic function — including support of patient report or attestation when recent labs are not readily available and the patient’s provider, if they have one, cannot be reached;
  2. CMS should help to implement a reimbursement pathway supporting pharmacist assessments that inform appropriate prescribing, and should release guidance encouraging all payers to immediately recognize pharmacists as prescribers of Paxlovid;
  3. FDA should clarify specific record-keeping requirements for pharmacist prescribing of Paxlovid;
  4. Biden Administration should help foster clear public education and set reasonable consumer expectations about how and when pharmacist prescribing of Paxlovid may be available to them.

NACDS concluded the letter saying, “Pharmacies are committed to continue serving the American people by meeting their dynamic and evolving pandemic needs, including to improve lifesaving access to Paxlovid. We look forward to working together to feasibly operationalize pharmacist prescribing of Paxlovid in a manner that meaningfully improves access and fosters equity across the country.” 

NACDS shares the Biden Administration’s goals to improve healthcare outcomes and foster equity across diverse and vulnerable communities by supporting better access to Paxlovid. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, NACDS has worked closely with federal and state governments on the COVID-19 response and pharmacies’ critical role in it. Based on input from diverse NACDS members on the front lines of healthcare delivery, NACDS continues to convey critical insights to align policies for an effective response on behalf of the American people. 

More information is available at NACDS.org/COVID-19.


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