Clinical Pharmacists want to help with COVID-19 testing


(WTNH) — We’ve heard a lot about hospital workers and first-responders on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak doing everything they can to keep citizens safe and healthy. But clinical pharmacists are on the front lines, too. And now, they are asking Governor Ned Lamont to let them conduct coronavirus testing for faster results for patients.

The Connecticut Society of Health-System Pharmacists wants to expand the role of their folks during this crisis. They say they can do more than dispense medicine.

Steph Luon PharmD, a Senior Clinical Pharmacy Specialist with Yale New Haven Hospital explained, “We may have different work environments, but we ultimately trained as pharmacists; we could help fill some of those essential front line roles.”

Luon believes she and others can help blunt the spread of Coronavirus. They have proposed an idea to state officials that would allow certain pharmacists test and treat patients and interpret those tests for COVID-19.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the Xpress Rapid Test and made it possible for self-collected nasal swabs to be collected in clinics and at drive-thru testing sites. Doing that with your pharmacist – the Connecticut Society of Health-System Pharmacists says – would be the next step.

Luon says, “It seems like everyone is really banning together to give us the best possible chance of having a successful outcome.”

Clinical pharmacists say that successful outcome would also give patients more health care options and fill a needed gap in care. Especially, as doctors and nurses are overwhelmed.

Thomas Buckley, an Associate Clinical Professor at the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy explained, “The value of being able to treat after you have been tested is critically important because if a person is tested and allowed to go back into the community they could – obviously if they have a virus – they can infect other people.”

The pharmacist group believes not only is allowing them to test for COVID 19 a short-term fix, but because it’s believed that a second wave of the virus will come in the fall – this could work for the long-term, as well. It’s unclear whether state officials agree.

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