reach of community pharmacies

Preventive care as a public health strategy can benefit even more from the “clinical expertise and sweeping reach of community pharmacies,” the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) advised the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in official comments.

NACDS responded to CDC’s request-for-information on priority topics over the next five years for the Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF).

“Given the many challenges facing our healthcare system including physician shortages, an aging population, increasing medication use and prevalence of chronic disease, the entire healthcare continuum must be better leveraged to meet national objectives to improve quality of care and expand access to prevention. Community pharmacies and pharmacists, for example, offer a wide variety of clinical care interventions, including preventive care, with broad-reaching impacts across communities in the U.S.,” wrote NACDS President & CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE.

“Importantly, recent evidence suggests that community pharmacies are especially well-positioned to provide preventive services, in part because of their accessibility, and compelling and longstanding evidence demonstrates that pharmacist-provided care is a fundamental component to the vitality and sustainability of providing high-quality and accessible healthcare to Americans, with meaningful impacts on patient health and mitigation of downstream healthcare costs.”

Specifically, NACDS’ recommendations of priority topics for the CPSTF focus on the areas of preventive screenings; chronic disease management; medication adherence and optimization; mental and behavioral health; immunizations; social determinants of health and health disparities; and the sustainability of non-traditional preventive care settings.

NACDS’ recommendations – backed by extensive research – include:

  • The CPSTF should include a focus on preventive screenings as a priority topic to identify pharmacy-based interventions that prevent or delay the onset or progression of chronic and infectious diseases.
  • The CPSTF should continue to make chronic disease management a priority in its reviews, with a focus on assessing the effectiveness of interventions such as pharmacy-based care to improve the health of those with chronic conditions.
  • The CPSTF should consideration medication adherence and medication optimization a priority in its future reviews, with a focus on assessing the effectiveness of pharmacy-based interventions to improve the health of those who use medications.
  • The CPSTF should include mental and behavioral health as a priority to identify effective community-based interventions, including pharmacy-based strategies, that can prevent the onset of behavioral health issues, as well as identify them to facilitate appropriate treatment.
  • The CPSTF should include immunizations as a priority area for identifying effective community-based interventions, such as pharmacy-based strategies, to reduce the tremendous impacts of vaccine-preventable diseases on public health.
  • The CPSTF should include community-based strategies for addressing prevention in the context of social determinants of health as a priority area for identifying effective interventions, such as pharmacy-based strategies, to improve health in a scalable, widespread manner for maximum impacts on access to care and public health.
  • The CPSTF should explore sustainable models for preventive care delivery in non-traditional settings, like community pharmacies, to directly create sustainable reimbursement or incentives for community-based implementation of preventive interventions. As a priority area, exploring this topic would provide great opportunity to improve community health in a scalable, widespread manner for maximum impacts on access to care and public health.

More information about NACDS’ pro-patient and pro-pharmacy advocacy can be found on the Access Agenda microsite.