Expand our role, pharmacists tell HHS

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists asked the HHS to authorize pharmacy workers to increase their repertoire of duties, from test-to-treat flu services to prescribing contraceptives. 

The ASHP and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, an HHS agency, met Sept. 23 to discuss the role of pharmacists and broaden pharmacy residency funding. In August, when monkeypox cases surged in the U.S., the ASHP pressed HHS to invoke the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act so pharmacists could administer the monkeypox vaccine. 

With the PREP Act, pharmacists can expand their care services "beyond COVID-19" to "prescribing of hormonal contraceptives, ordering post-exposure emergency prophylaxis for HIV, providing access to medications for opioid use disorder and prescribing smoking cessation aids," the pharmacy group said in a Sept. 26 news release. 

Other demands include funding for postgraduate year two pharmacy residencies and for the HHS to ask Congress to "allow CMS to pay pharmacists directly for providing clinical services to Medicare beneficiaries" by signing the Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act, which was introduced to the House in March. 

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