Changes to Pharmacy as a Result of COVID-19 By Liz MacMenamin

The recent changes in business practices during COVID-19 will have an impact on the community pharmacy of the future. These changes will most likely be long term and will change the practice of pharmacy not only in our state but across the United States.

The community pharmacy is now expecting that they will see an increase in point of care testing for various illness and that will include COVID-19. The pharmacists on the front lines also believe that this will lead to a much-needed change and an increase in the scope of practice of a pharmacist. This is something RAN has been addressing for quite some time.

What does this mean? It means the pharmacist will be able to practice to the level of their education and will emerge as the trusted health care provider they are trained to be. This will include assisting patients in medication compliance, implementing evidence-based interventions for chronic disease management, administering immunizations, and more as the roles change. There will need to be changes in the views of lawmakers for this to become reality in Nevada.

During the pandemic the Nevada State Board of Pharmacy and the governor issued a waiver allowing for an increase in ratio of the pharmacist technician in a pharmacy. Pharmacies in Nevada continued to operate effectively and safely during this waiver period. The ratio has been an issue in Nevada for quite a while with the Board of Pharmacy limiting the ratio in community pharmacies settings to an arbitrary number. This is an example of changes Nevada need to make to allow community pharmacies to address any future pandemic issues. This will also give our state the ability to optimize health care needs even in less stressful environment.

RAN is looking forward to having conversations with the elected officials of Nevada to obtain these changes to the benefit of our citizens. We would also like to thank Governor Sisolak and the board for recognizing the needed changes brought about during the pandemic.