Legislation to Ensure Continued Access to Critical Pharmacy Services
Dear Congressmen Kind and McKinley,
On behalf of America’s pharmacists and pharmacies, we write to thank you for your dedicated leadership and work to ensure continued access to critical pharmacy services during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Our organizations strongly support H.R. 7213, the Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act (ECAPS), which will provide patients and families in rural and underserved communities across the country with a continued, vital lifeline to health care services at a time when our country’s health resources are stretched thin and may otherwise be inaccessible.
As you are well aware, the COVID-19 pandemic has placed enormous strains on our nation’s healthcare system. For the past two years, pharmacists and pharmacies have stepped up to protect our nation’s communities from the harms of a deadly virus. Pharmacies are unquestionably a vital part of health care infrastructure to advance health equity in underserved and minority communities, whether rural or urban, where the local pharmacy may be the only health care provider for miles. In fact, nine in ten Americans live within five miles of a pharmacy, and patients visit their pharmacist approximately twice as frequently as they visit primary care physicians. Pharmacies have remained one of our nation’s most trusted and accessible sources for COVID-19 testing, treatment, and other critical healthcare services.
Our pharmacists and pharmacies have administered more than 230 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, and more than 36 million COVID-19 tests, since April 2021 – not just in pharmacies, but through mobile facilities and community partnerships in local churches, schools, and libraries, many in underserved areas. Indeed, the pharmacy sector itself has met Americans where they are, empowering communities to access care that has been, and is likely to remain, inaccessible for far too many.