New Assessment Highlights Legal Authority of Pharmacists to Provide Access to Vital HIV and Harm Reduction Services Across U.S.
Washington, D.C. – NASTAD has assessed the legal authority for pharmacists to provide PrEP, PEP, and harm reduction services, and engage in collaborative practice agreements (CPAs) in all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Pharmacists can play a vital role in providing naloxone and nonprescription syringes to people who use drugs (PWUD). Pharmacies can serve as initial contacts with the medical system and provide referrals and linkage to mainstream health care. Furthermore, pharmacies may be more accessible than primary care providers (PCPs), especially in rural areas, and be considered trustworthy by patients – making them an ideal provider of harm reduction services for PWUD who prefer to maintain their anonymity due to stigma and prejudice.
“Community pharmacies can also serve as alternatives to PCPs to increase PrEP and PEP uptake,” said Dr. Stephen Lee, NASTAD Executive Director. “Black and Latinx American gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (GBM); rural Americans in the South; and serodiscordant couples face major barriers to accessing PrEP & PEP – including systemic racism, a lack of knowledge about the medications, stigma around HIV and sexual behaviors, bias from healthcare providers, and distrust of the medical establishment. Diversifying the healthcare settings and provider types that offer HIV care could address some of these barriers.”
As part of this project, NASTAD developed several resources:
- A database that includes an assessment of the legal authority for pharmacists to provide PrEP, PEP, and harm reduction services, and engage in CPAs in all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- Two interactive maps (found here and here) that include an assessment of the legal authority for pharmacists to provide PrEP and PEP and pharmacists’ authority to engage in CPAs, including an assessment of the legal authority for pharmacists to dispense naloxone and sell non-prescription syringes.
- Two issue briefs (found here and here) that expand upon the issues that impact pharmacists’ ability to provide PrEP, PEP, and harm reduction services and engage in CPAs. The issue briefs describe these barriers and recommend best practices for addressing them, when available.
These materials will be distributed to state, local, and territorial health department staff and other relevant stakeholders and will continue to be available on NASTAD’s website. For more information on this project and NASTAD’s findings, see this blog post.
This project was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Center for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support (CSTLTS) through CDC-RFA-OT18-1802: Strengthening Public Health Systems and Services through National Partnerships to Improve and Protect the Nation’s Health.
NASTAD is a leading non-partisan non-profit association that represents public health officials who administer HIV and hepatitis programs in the U.S. We work to advance the health and dignity of people living with and impacted by HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, and intersecting epidemics by strengthening governmental public health through advocacy, capacity building, and social justice.