NACDS on COVID-19: States must act now for medication access

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WASHINGTON – The nation’s governors received from the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) on Tuesday a recommendation of how to help maintain patients’ medication access during the COVID-19 pandemic.

steve anderson

Steven Anderson

NACDS provided a model executive order that would foster medication access. The Association also noted the importance of recent action by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to waive laws and regulations that could hinder access to prescription drugs, not including controlled substances.

NACDS President & CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE, wrote to the governors:

“The COVID-19 response is creating unprecedented stresses on our healthcare system. Since Americans need continued access to essential medicines, we urge you to immediately take the following actions:

  1. Ensure pharmacies can remain open using all means, including central fill sites, technology, out-of-state professionals and other actions;
  2. Authorize pharmacies to provide COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccines in states; and
  3. Ensure expanded access to pharmacy care to reduce pressures on hospitals, physician practices, and urgent clinics.

“For decades and especially since responses to Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey and the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, community pharmacies have played a national role in supporting expanded access to care and pharmacy continuity in these crises. No event in our lifetime has matched what we are experiencing right now, and we’re here to support every community in your state.

“Our recommendations are in the spirit of Florida’s recent executive order, aimed at ensuring that the public has access to essential medicines and forward-leaning precautionary measures. Also, for pharmacy personnel engaged in testing and patient care services related to COVID-19 beyond traditional dispensing of medications, we urge you to immediately include them in your state PPE distribution program.

“We believe the public benefits of these recommendations clearly outweigh possible risks; and as such, states should take immediate action to remove barriers to patient care access and ensure pharmacy continuity. The surge in healthcare demand is continuing to rise and we need pharmacies to have the requisite legal authority to meet that demand.  

“In these unprecedented times, we welcome collaboration with state and national partners to provide patient care services as accessible, frontline healthcare providers. NACDS and our chain pharmacy members appreciate your state’s leadership to preserve the health and welfare of your citizens.”

Last week, governors, state legislators and state associations representing pharmacies and pharmacists received comprehensive recommendationsfrom NACDS on ways to help assure patients receive the care they need during the COVID-19 pandemic. NACDS also sent federal recommendations to the Trump Administration and the U.S. Congressional leadership.

NACDS has established a web portal at to provide NACDS members with convenient access to COVID-19 information and resources.



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