ASHP Chief Executive Officer Paul W. Abramowitz, ASHP Chief Operating Officer Kasey Thompson, members of ASHP’s Government Relations Office, and ASHP member Sam Calabrese, chief pharmacy officer, Cleveland Clinic, met with White House officials on May 21 to discuss pharmacists’ role in COVID-19 and flu testing.
In its third meeting with White House officials this month and second related to the COVID-19 pandemic, ASHP once again highlighted the role of health-system pharmacists on the front lines of the COVID-19 response, and spoke about the need to take steps now to mitigate the negative impacts of co-circulation of COVID-19 with the 2021 flu season. This morning’s meeting addressed the following points of discussion:
- The Role of Health-System Pharmacists as Partners in COVID-19 Testing: Dr. Calabrese briefed White House COVID-19 policy officials on the role of pharmacists in COVID-19 testing, including leveraging health-system retail pharmacy networks for the distribution and collection of home-based kits.
- Access to Testing: ASHP encouraged White House policymakers to expand access to testing by creating a sustainable payment mechanism for testing done by pharmacists.
- Getting Ahead of Potential Health Threats: ASHP reiterated earlier discussions with White House officials that emphasized the importance of preparing for co-circulation of flu and COVID-19 this winter. ASHP urged maximizing access to testing and vaccination for both COVID-19 and flu, and removing barriers that prevent pharmacists from initiating antiviral therapy for flu and COVID-19 (once an outpatient therapy is authorized by the Food and Drug Administration). ASHP also noted that to ensure access, a payment mechanism must be in place for pharmacists.
ASHP is once again appreciative of the opportunity to demonstrate the work and expertise of our members to the White House team and looks forward to working with the administration to end the COVID-19 pandemic and advance public health.