Drugstore group urges more vaccination authority for pharmacists

The U.S. National Association of Chain Drug Stores is urging Congress to give pharmacists more of a role in immunization practices.

NACDS recently sent a statement to the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation that argues that pharmacists are already playing an increasingly important role in providing patient care.

"Activities such as the increased number of health screenings provided by pharmacists help educate patients and give them a better understanding of their health status and potential needs," the statement reads. "Pharmacists also provide vital patient care through services such as medication therapy management and their expanding role in providing immunizations."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows, according to NACDS, that pharmacists have been instrumental in increasing vaccine coverage in the United States. They have been particularly vital in rural and suburban areas were physician access can be more limited. NACDS then argues that an expansion of pharmacists' vaccination authority would both save lives and lead to decreased healthcare costs.

"Considering the improvements in public health and the healthcare savings that one can expect to achieve through expanding the authority of pharmacists to administer immunizations, any influenza preparedness strategy should maximize the potential of pharmacists to provide important immunization services to more Americans and to practice up to their full capability," the statement concludes.