The History of Pharmacy’s Expanded Role in Combatting COVID-19

Pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy interns in the United States have played a vital role in the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. An unprecedented federal preemption of state pharmacy practice laws facilitated pharmacy’s expanded authority for COVID-19 testing and for providing immunizations and Covid treatments. The fascinating history of how the federal government created the pathway for broader pharmacy engagement in combating the pandemic is recounted in a video presentation available at this link.

The story of this historically important effort is told in the video by Will Chang, JD, who served as Deputy General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services during much of the COVID-19 pandemic. He presented this talk at the September 30, 2021, meeting of the Joint Commission of Pharmacy Practitioners (JCPP). Comprised of the CEOs and presidents of the major U.S. pharmacist associations, JCPP meets quarterly to share information and coordinate efforts to advance the profession. AIHP is an invited observer at JCPP’s meetings.

JCPP organizations have been strategizing on how to make permanent, post-pandemic, pharmacy’s expanded patient-care authority.

The basis for federal preemption of state pharmacy practice requirements, in times of public health emergency, stems from three laws: the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) of 2005, the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013, and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) of 2020.

AIHP thanks JCPP for its assistance in making this video available for viewing.

Submitted by AIHP member William A. Zellmer

Posted: March 23, 2022

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AIHP Wants to Document Your COVID-19 Stories and Experiences

AIHP COVID-19 ProjectThe American Institute of the History of Pharmacy is documenting and preserving pharmacy stories and experiences during the COVID-19 global pandemic for the benefit of future historians and scholars. We seek to record the effects of this public health emergency on all types of pharmacy experiences. We invite you to share your pharmacy stories, photos, videos, artifacts, and other documentation of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

You can participate in the AIHP COVID-19 Pandemic Pharmacy Historical Documentation Project either (1) by immediately sharing your thoughts/experiences and/or submitting digital materials or (2) by signifying your to intention to submit materials in the future. Please comply with all applicable local or state stay-at-home orders while self-documenting.

Please click the link below to learn more about participating in the AIHP COVID-19 Pandemic Pharmacy Historical Documentation Project.

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Calendar of Events

Upcoming events of interest to historians of pharmacy, pharmaceuticals, medicines, science, and related fields. (Event information current when posted. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, please double-check the status of all events):

May 9-12, 2024: Annual Meeting of the American Association of the History of Medicine, Kansas City, Missouri.
June 27-30, 2024: ADHS Biennial Conference, Buffalo, NY.
July 7-11, 2024: International Social Pharmacy Workshop, Banff, Canada.
September 4-7, 2024: 46th International Congress for the History of Pharmacy, Belgrade Serbia.
January 3-6, 2025: Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association, New York City, NY.

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