COVID-19 RESOURCE CENTER
Please monitor this page closely for important news that affects pharmacists amid the current COVID-19 pandemic. We will update it daily to keep information & resources current.
Updated 4/1/2020 at 8:08 a.m. CDT
During this challenging time, community pharmacies are on the front line of the health care system's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a pharmacist and pharmacy owner, you have four major responsibilities during the COVID-19 outbreak:
- Help minimize death & serious side effects among infected patients;
- Minimize transmission of the virus;
- Protect your pharmacy employees; and
- Maintain the orderly functioning of your pharmacy.
ACT QUICKLY TO GET EMERGENCY FEDERAL LOANS
Economic Injury Disaster Loans
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) signed into law on March 27, provides a broad array of economic relief to individuals and businesses. The Small Business Administration's (SBA) existing Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program was expanded by the CARES Act to provide longer-term loans with favorable borrowing terms to eligible companies in all 50 states to address economic injury caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. EIDL loans are available in amounts up to $2 million, carry an interest rate of 3.75% and have a repayment term of up to 30 years.
We encourage you to apply quickly if you are interested in an EIDL. We understand that the amount Congress allotted to the EIDL program is limited and will be provided on a first-come-first-served basis. Furthermore, you can request a grant of $10,000 within three business days of application just for applying, which can be used for authorized business expenses without any obligation of repayment.
An application for a CARES Act EIDL loan can be made directly through the Small Business Administration's online application. The application takes 25-30 minutes to complete. ► Read More
IF YOU HAVEN'T DONE IT, CLOSE YOUR DOORS NOW
► Guide to Closed-Door Operations (Updated 3-28-20)
We have previously urged our member pharmacies to close their doors to the public to protect staff and patients from the accelerating risk of infection and to enable the ongoing operation of your pharmacy. If you have not yet done so, YOU MUST IMMEDIATELY SWITCH TO CLOSED-DOOR MODE and provide only drive-through, curbside pickup and delivery options for patients. Infection hotspots are springing up in too many areas and the risk to your staff, patients and operations is far too serious to allow anyone other than carefully screened staff to enter the pharmacy. IF JUST ONE WORKING MEMBER OF YOUR STAFF GETS SICK, YOU WILL HAVE TO CLOSE DOWN. ► Read More
Labor Dept. Allows Pharmacies to Exempt Staff
From COVID-19 Emergency Leave Expansion
On Saturday (March 28), U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia issued new guidelines designating all pharmacy employees as "health care providers" under the recently enacted Families First Coronavirus Relief Act that takes effect April 1. As a result of this new guidance, pharmacy owners are no longer required to (but may still choose to) grant extended leave to eligible employees for reasons related to COVID-19.
Among other things, the FFCRA expands paid leave available to employees who are dealing with certain issues related to COVID-19. The FFCRA permits employers of "health care providers" to exempt their employees from the leave requirements, however pharmacy employees were not covered by the FFCRA's original definition of those providers prior to Scalia's Saturday action, leaving independent pharmacies at risk of staffing shortages if several employees took leave at the same time. Such mass departures could threaten the ability of many pharmacies to continue in operation. ► Read More
AmerisourceBergen Market Shortage Report
Our drug wholesaler has compiled an extensive report showing generic, brand and OTC products that are in short supply and what allocations are in place. The report, which will be updated each Monday, also shows the expected resolution timeline ("Get Well Date") for each item on the list.
Emergency Dispensing Is Authorized in These States:
||Up to 7 days
||Up to 9 days
||Yes, qty. not specified
||? can't be determined
||Up to 90 days
||Yes; qty. varies
||Yes; qty. not specified
||Up to 90 days
||Yes; qty. not specified
||Yes; qty. not specified
||30 days; Medicaid 90
Please verify with your state pharmacy board, as these standards may change and specifics may vary on days' supply allowed by type of drug, whether the dispensing is for Medicaid vs. other plans, and special procedures for dispensing controlled drugs. Some states have not authorized emergency dispensing at all or have not increased their days' supply allowed from their standard policy.
SPECIAL NOTICE TO TEXAS & OHIO MEMBERS: these states have taken action to limit the dispensing of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine.
Texas: Effective March 20, 2020, any new prescriptions issued for chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, mefloquine or azithromycin must contain a diagnosis. The diagnosis must be consistent with the manufacturer’s recommended use or any other FDA-approved treatment. New prescriptions may be limited to a 14-day supply. However, patients previously established on any of the four medications prior to March 20, may continue to receive the full quantity prescribed. Refills are not permitted on new prescriptions issued after March 20. See the Texas Order
Ohio: Prescriptions for chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine must have avalid dgnosis code and may not exceed a 14-day suply. Any diagnosis for COVID-19 must be accompanied by a valid positive test result. See the Ohio Order
Reporting Potential Cases
If you are concerned that a patient may have COVID-19, contact your local or state health department immediately for consultation and guidance. If you do not have a city or county health authority, report it to your state health department. Following are links to directories of both local and state health authorities for all 50 states and U.S. territories.
More Resources & Important Information
It is important that you monitor the government health authorities who are coordinating the state and local response to the virus outbreak in your area, most especially your state health department. These authorities will have vital information about the availability and location of screening/test kits/facilities, declarations of emergency conditions, emergency health-care or dispensing guidelines, and closings of businesses and governmental/educational institutions.
DOWNLOAD THESE RESOURCES IN PDF FORM
Impact on AmerisourceBergen (ABDC) Inventory & Deliveries
ABDC’s product sourcing teams are monitoring ordering activity and inventory levels and are placing allocations on products as needed. Due to high ordering volumes across its entire network, AmerisourceBergen is experiencing delays with pick, pack and ship processes. Additionally, because of increased volumes, couriers are also experiencing delays in their re-packing processes, and increased security measures at some customer sites are also delaying end-mile drivers. ABDC customers can help the wholesaler manage this situation by taking the followng steps:
- Submit orders as early as possible: Submitting your orders early in the day will allow ABDC to start preparing orders earlier and help minimize staffing disruptions.
- Submit orders in a single purchase order: Submitting orders in one purchase order can lessen the impact on distribution center operations, ensuring more timely deliveries.
- Consider critical purchases when submitting orders: We understand that you need to be prepared, but please order strategically -- not just more items.
- Please return totes with your driver: If you have any ABDC totes, lids or cold chain coolers in your facility, please return them to us. We need an adequate number of totes to ensure the most efficient process when filling your orders.
AmerisourceBergen is proactively addressing increased order volumes and delivery delays by working with its manufacturers and by inceasing staffing at its distribution centers. To facilitate continued deliveries in the event that certain geographic areas are sealed off in "lockdown" status, ABDC is providing drivers and distribution center associates with a verified letter that designates them as an Authorized Responder. If stopped by authorities, they can provide this letter based on AmerisourceBergen’s role in healthcare delivery. We also work with national healthcare agencies and the government to ensure access as a critical part of the healthcare infrastructure.
Chamber of Commerce Guide