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New Report: Striving Toward Health Equity in COVID-19 - The Role of Pharmacies in a National Response

Center News


October 14, 2021 – Today, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) released a new report highlighting the vital role of pharmacies in advancing healthcare access before and during the current COVID-19 pandemic. The report discusses ways in which local pharmacies can be further leveraged to enhance equity for patients and communities.

The new report, Striving Toward Health Equity in COVID-19 - The Role of Pharmacies in a National Response, notes that since September 2021, pharmacies have deployed innovative strategies focused on staffing, patient communications, vaccination events at community functions, the use of pharmacy drive-thrus, and coordination with state and local partners and local employers.

The authors wrote, “A critical next step must be to ensure that changes, which have proven beneficial in expanding access and advancing equity thus far during the pandemic, are institutionalized to secure better health moving forward.”

The report provides three specific policy recommendations that would help foster equity by ensuring that patients and communities nationwide can receive key clinical care more seamlessly and reliably at their local pharmacies. These recommendations are:

  • Policymakers should support the immediate development and implementation of a sustainable patient care access model that includes a permanent payment pathway for pharmacies to deliver clinical care.
  • Policymakers should make permanent expanded patient access to pharmacy care through scope of practice changes based on demonstrated benefits for patients and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Pharmacies, with public health agencies, community-based organizations, and other groups similarly aligned in mission, should build upon the tremendous COVID-19 efforts to combat health inequity toward collectively addressing this issue beyond the pandemic.

Read the press release from NACDS:

Read the report: