Anderson ’75 reports on impact of pharmacies during pandemic
A report released Oct. 14, 2021, describes pharmacies’ success before and during the COVID-19 pandemic in confronting health inequities and disparities. The report, by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, shows the ways in which local pharmacies can be further leveraged to enhance equity for even more patients.
Steven C. Anderson ’75, president of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), said the work he and his team have accomplished over the past 20 months has produced game-changing results that will reopen the country for all Americans.
“Currently, 70-80% of all COVID-19 shots in the U.S. are being given in a retail pharmacy as a result of our success to pass and change laws and regulations at the federal and state levels of government,” Anderson said.
NACDS’ traditional drug stores, grocery, and mass merchant member companies have 40,000 locations throughout the country. 90% of all Americans live within five miles of a retail pharmacy, making them the nation’s most accessible healthcare professionals.
The report, titled “Striving Toward Health Equity in the National COVID-19 Response–The Role of Pharmacies,” shows the ways in which local pharmacies can be further leveraged to enhance equity for even more patients.
Specifically, the report demonstrates pharmacies’ ongoing commitment to healthcare access and equity, and lays out recommendations for legislative solutions that will help maintain patients’ equitable access to critical clinical care long after COVID-19 has been defeated.
NACDS and Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security note in the report that local pharmacies “have increasingly provided enhanced access to routine vaccinations, screening and testing.”
Additionally, pharmacies have been planning and preparing for response to a pandemic–collaboratively with government at the state and federal levels–for over a decade: During the 2009 influenza pandemic, the report notes, “pharmacies administered 23% of H1N1 vaccinations within a 3-month span via CDC’s 2009 H1N1 Vaccine Pharmacy Initiative.”
The report concludes that although progress has been made to eliminate the health inequities and disparities that have proven detrimental during the COVID-19 response, the work is not complete. As a next step, the authors recommend steps to serve communities on the frontlines; to better prepare the nation for future health crises; and to empower the healthcare system to better provide the routine care that supports the health and wellbeing of the nation’s most vulnerable communities every day.