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. 2020 Apr 10;S1551-7411(20)30323-5.
doi: 10.1016/j.sapharm.2020.04.002. Online ahead of print.

Pharmacy Emergency Preparedness and Response (PEPR): A Proposed Framework for Expanding Pharmacy Professionals' Roles and Contributions to Emergency Preparedness and Response During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond

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Pharmacy Emergency Preparedness and Response (PEPR): A Proposed Framework for Expanding Pharmacy Professionals' Roles and Contributions to Emergency Preparedness and Response During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond

Meghana Aruru et al. Res Social Adm Pharm. .
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Background: Pharmacists have long been involved in public health and emergency preparedness and response (EP&R), including through preventive measures such as screening, vaccinations, testing, medical and pharmaceutical countermeasures, as well as ensuring medication safety and access during natural disasters and pandemics. Pharmacy professionals are considered essential partners in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Community and hospital pharmacies are expanding services and hours to provide essential services, putting pharmacists and their co-workers at the frontlines for patient care and safety to improve public health. In addition, pharmacy professionals are increasingly integrating into global, national, state and local EP&R efforts, including into interprofessional teams, such as Medical Reserve Corps (MRCs). However, lacunae exist for further integration of pharmacists into public health and safety initiatives. There are increasing opportunities and recommendations that should be expanded upon to provide improved patient care and population health interventions, and to ensure healthcare worker and public health safety.

Objective: Develop a Pharmacy Emergency Preparedness and Response (PEPR) Framework and recommendations for pharmacy professional pathways towards full integration within public health EP&R efforts (such as the COVID-19 pandemic), and enhanced recognition of pharmacists' skills, roles and contributions as integral members of the interprofessional healthcare team.

Methods: This paper draws on the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) 2003 Statement on the Role of Health-System Pharmacists in Emergency Preparedness and lessons learned from previous and current public health emergencies, such as the 2009 H1N1 pandemic and the current COVID-19 pandemic, to provide expanded guidance for pharmacists and pharmacy professionals across all practice settings in EP&R. The proposed PEPR framework also incorporates information and recommendations from The Pharmacy Organizations' Joint Policy Recommendations to Combat the COVID-19 Pandemic (March 2020), CDC-NIOSH, International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) Guidance, health departments and emergency preparedness guidance and resources, Boards of Pharmacy, and other pharmacy professional organizations and educational institutions.

Results: Based on methods and resources utilized in developing this proposed PEPR Framework, five key focus areas were identified, as follows: CONCLUSION: Pharmacists and pharmacy professionals have been at the frontlines in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, challenges remain, such as limited availability of personal protection equipment, high risk of infectious exposures inherent in healthcare professions, and legislative hurdles resulting in lack of provider status and related reimbursements. Recommendations to enhance pharmacy's scope as public health professionals involved in EP&R include targeted training and education on key framework areas and policymaking. Pharmacy professionals should further integrate with interdisciplinary public health teams. Additional research and dissemination on impacts and outcomes of EP&R can enhance recognition of pharmacy professionals' contribution and value during public health emergencies. The proposed PEPR Framework can be utilized to develop, implement, evaluate, and disseminate results in order to strengthen existing efforts and to establish new initiatives in EP&R.

Keywords: COVID-19; Disaster Management; Emergency Preparedness and Response; Pandemic; Pharmacists; Pharmacy professionals; Provider status; Public Health Pharmacy; Public health emergency.

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