Pharmacists urge CMS to require fee for dispensing COVID-19 antivirals

Six pharmacy organizations are calling on CMS to require payment to pharmacists who dispense COVID-19 antiviral drugs to patients. 

The pharmacy groups claim CMS' decision to encourage, rather than mandate, such payment could limit Medicare patients' ability to access these treatments from pharmacies, especially in rural and underserved communities where a pharmacist may be the only nearby healthcare provider.

"The failure of CMS to require pharmacists to be compensated for testing, patient assessment, and ordering/prescribing, in addition to dispensing oral antivirals makes little sense and sets up the distribution program for failure," they said in a Nov. 30 statement. "CMS needs to clearly delineate a payment pathway necessary to allow pharmacists' patients to access these life-saving medications."

The statement came the same day FDA advisors recommended Merck's antiviral drug for emergency use authorization in the U.S.

The six organizations who issued the statement were:

  • American Pharmacists Association
  • American Society of Consultant Pharmacists
  • American Society of Health-System Pharmacists
  • College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists
  • National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations
  • National Community Pharmacists Association

View the full statement here


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