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NACDS, AAM and NGA praise President Biden’s COVID-19 plan

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Move includes activation of Federal Pharmacy Partnership Program.

WASHINGTON — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the Association for Accessible Medicines and the National Grocers Association all applauded President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 plan, which calls for leveraging community pharmacists in an effort to speed the vaccination of more Americans.

Biden announced his administration’s “National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness” on Thursday.

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Steven Anderson

President Biden’s plan demonstrates action in critical areas that are essential for getting safe and effective vaccines to Americans’ arms, efficiently and equitably,” NACDS president and CEO Steven Anderson said in a statement. “Among its proactive steps, NACDS appreciates that the Administration will activate the Federal Pharmacy Partnership Program in the next two weeks. NACDS also appreciates the focus on ensuring a data-driven response to COVID-19 and to future public health threats – a vision on which NACDS members can add considerable value.”

Anderson said the plan also includes progress in the areas of COVID-19 testing expansion, COVID-19 reimbursement and coverage, and enhancing the scope of practice of pharmacists and other healthcare professionals. And he called the establishment of a health equity task force, focused on enhancing vaccine confidence, another crucial step.

“Pharmacies, pharmacists and pharmacy teams are local and highly trusted – and can help to engage in the conversations that are essential to vaccine confidence, across races and ethnicities, and in rural and urban settings,” he said. “NACDS represents national and regional chain pharmacies, which operate between four and 10,000 stores in the traditional drug, grocery and mass retail settings. By virtue of their extensive experience collaborating with public health, pharmacies also are key to standing up mass clinics and mobile clinics. We all know that vaccine supplies remain the rate-limiting step at this time, yet pharmacies can meet the demand for 100 million vaccinations in one month assuming such supplies are available. There is a pharmacy within five miles of 90% of Americans, and pharmacies are committed to going the extra miles, too, to help vaccinate all Americans. We look forward to continuing to work with the Biden Administration in this important work of protecting Americans and their livelihoods, overcoming the pandemic, and returning us all to what we need and love.”

The Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM)  said: “the Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM) strongly endorses the Biden administration’s executive orders to strengthen America’s response to the COVID pandemic. Generic medicines have been instrumental in treating COVID patients with severe conditions, serving as a bridge until the COVID vaccines are widely available. AAM’s members are ready to partner with the Biden administration to ensure reliable and predictable access to these vital therapies.

We also strongly support the Administration’s efforts to strengthen the U.S. pharmaceutical supply chain and domestic manufacturing. More than 60 billion doses of generic medicines are made each year in the U.S., but more is possible with the right incentives in place. By ensuring that more essential medicines are produced in the United States, American patients and our health care system will be better prepared to withstand any future pandemics, natural disasters or global supply chain disruptions. AAM’s Blueprint for Enhancing the Security of the U.S. Pharmaceutical Supply Chain describes specific incentives to facilitate greater production of essential medicines in the U.S. and aligns closely with the Biden administration’s proposed approach.”

The National Grocers Association (NGA), which represents the independent supermarket industry, also lauded the Biden administration’s plan to reach a goal of 100 million vaccinations in 100 days.

“The independent grocery community appreciates the president’s focus on ramping up COVID-19 vaccine allotment and distribution,” said NGA President and CEO Greg Ferrara. “Main Street grocers across the country continue to work tirelessly during this pandemic to make sure that Americans have safe access to food and our frontline employees are protected while keeping the shelves stocked and everyone fed.

Ferrara said the president also acknowledged the need for a greater emphasis on public-private partnerships in vaccine administration, specifically highlighting the need to broaden the use of pharmacies as vaccination sites by creating a federal pharmacy program.

“Our grocery pharmacy members across the country stand ready to help administer vaccinations to their communities,” said Robert Yeakel, NGA’s director of government relations. “We are encouraged by the president’s announcement of a federal program to help states enlist pharmacies as vaccine administrators and call on states to make sure that essential workers are prioritized. NGA and its members will continue to encourage government entities at the federal and state levels to work with independent grocery pharmacies to expand vaccination access for all Americans.”


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