Michigan Pharmacy Students Help Initiate Executive Order Expanding Pharmacists' Role During Pandemic
As the novel coronavirus impacts healthcare across the world, two Michigan Pharmacy P2 students saw a way they could help alleviate the strain in their own backyard.
Julia (Hage) Nahle and Sara Rashid developed a proposal that contributed to Executive Order 2020-25, signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer on March 25. The order will allow pharmacists to dispense emergency refills of prescriptions for up to 60 days’ worth of supply for patients and require insurers to cover these emergency refills during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Executive Order 2020-25 takes effect immediately and ends on April 22, but could be renewed as needed.
With the help of Jamele Hage, JD, and Michigan Board of Pharmacy member Maria Young, BSPS, Julia and Sara contacted Gov. Whitmer’s office, pushing for the State of Michigan to grant pharmacists a larger role in optimizing patient care during this pandemic.
“This is a huge first step in the expansion of pharmacists’ roles in patient care, but we are nowhere close to being done,” explained Julia.
Both students agreed, “we cannot say we ‘will be done,’ because current and future pharmacists must never stop advocating for the profession. However, our ultimate goal is to see our recommendations enacted into laws.”
“No Michigander should be worried about running out of critical medications during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is why I signed this Executive Order authorizing pharmacists to refill up to 60 days of medication for their patients and easing restrictions on pharmacists so they can continue to help their patients during this crisis,” said Governor Whitmer in a release. “Residents who are limiting their time in public places and practicing social distancing shouldn’t have to fear running low on their prescription drugs during these trying times.”
The Executive Order only applies to non-controlled substances. Pharmacists will also have the discretion to substitute therapeutically equivalent medications without prescriber approval if there are critical shortages.
“This Executive Order will ease a burden on seniors and families worried about maintaining a supply of medication for themselves or their children,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Chief Medical Executive and Chief Deputy Director for Health at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “We continue to urge Michiganders to practice social distancing if they are out in public and to wash their hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer regularly to help stop the spread of COVID-19.”