'Very concerning,' says AMA leader on pharmacists expanding their scope

The American Medical Association is tracking about 60 bills that seek to broaden pharmacists' scope of practice, and its senior attorney said the legislation is "very concerning for us."

"Pharmacists play an important role as medication experts on the healthcare team, but they're not trained like a physician," Kimberly Horvath, JD, senior attorney with AMA's Advocacy Resource Center, said in an interview AMA published Feb. 2. "They don't attend medical school and they don't attain the clinical judgment to perform medical exams or diagnose patients." 

The medical association's argument against pharmacists having a larger role in healthcare hit an obstacle in mid-2022 when the FDA allowed pharmacists to prescribe Paxlovid. In reply, AMA President Jack Resneck Jr., MD, said it is "far beyond a pharmacist's scope and training."

Ms. Horvath said the bills AMA are monitoring include legislation that, if passed, "would allow pharmacists to prescribe medications to patients based solely on a test performed at the pharmacy," she said. "And this would include things like the flu, RSV, strep infections or urinary tract infections."

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