Last Updated: Nov 5, 2020
A Pennsylvania bill – House Bill 770 – was amended to expand pharmacists’ authority to administer certain diagnostic tests. The Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) opposes Senate amendments to the bill that would grant pharmacists with the authority to administer “waived” diagnostic tests that might include analyzing blood, urine, and fecal samples, and performing tests such as rapid strep.
How to Contact Your Representative on HB 770
This bill is being pushed aggressively by large retail pharmacy chains and retail giants, like Walmart. Representatives need to hear from you now on the negative impact HB 770 will have on patient safety and health care cost increases if passed.
Use PAMED’s “Find My Legislators” online tool here to look up and contact your legislator.
Here are key talking points you can share with legislators:
- Pharmacists have been helpful in administering COVID-19 tests, but beyond that there is no rationale for extending their authority into an area of clinical medicine.
- Pharmacists are not qualified to diagnose, treat, or appropriately counsel customers.
- Many diagnostic tests, such as “rapid strep” tests, are improperly performed and yield false negative results. Patient safety is extremely adversely impacted when the leave with a false negative diagnosis when in fact they need appropriate clinical treatment.
- Further, when performing a diagnostic test, such as “rapid strep” tests that yield a positive diagnosis, a pharmacist cannot then provide treatment. In these instances, the patient is then referred to a physician who, in all likelihood, have to re-administer the test.
- Duplicative testing requires insurers to pay for multiple diagnostic tests leading to overall increased health care costs.
- Granting this authority to pharmacists will also increase the volume of sick patients who enter pharmacies and retail locations providing these services. Clinical settings for diagnostic testing are significantly safer and more appropriate than the alternative.
PAMED Urges Pa. House Members to Oppose HB 770
In a recent letter to House members, we shared our concerns (outlined above) about HB 770 and urged lawmakers to oppose the bill.
Our letter also shared a New York Times article which found that pharmacists are being required to perform more and more functions within retail pharmacies that, according to pharmacists themselves, jeopardize patient safety. Read the article entitled “How Chaos at Chain Pharmacies Is Putting Patients at Risk.”
We will continue to monitor HB 770 and share any updates with members.