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The Buckeye Institute: Pharmacists Play Pivotal Role in Fighting the Pandemic

Mar 24, 2021

Columbus, OH – On Wednesday, The Buckeye Institute submitted written testimony (see full text below or download a PDF) to the Ohio Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee on the policies in House Bill 6, which would allow pharmacists to test for COVID-19 and administer COVID-19 vaccines—a recommendation that Buckeye made in the early days of the pandemic.

In his testimony, Greg R. Lawson, research fellow at The Buckeye Institute, noted that an “estimated 90 percent of Americans live within two miles of a pharmacy” and that “authorizing pharmacists to administer COVID-19 vaccines…makes pharmacies critical access points for coronavirus testing, prevention, and treatment”, which is particularly important in rural areas facing health care shortages.

Lawson again urged lawmakers to remove “obstructive regulatory red-tape” to help fight the pandemic, which is “essential for Ohio’s long-term success.”

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Empowering Pharmacists to Expand Access to Care

Interested Party Testimony
Ohio Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee
House Bill 6

Greg R. Lawson, Research Fellow
The Buckeye Institute
March 24, 2021

Chair Roegner, Vice Chair McColley, Ranking Member Craig, and members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to submit written testimony regarding House Bill 6 and Ohio’s need for regulatory reform.

My name is Greg R. Lawson. I am the research fellow at The Buckeye Institute, an independent research and educational institution—a think tank—whose mission is to advance free-market public policy in the states.

House Bill 6 cuts through some of Ohio’s unnecessary regulatory red-tape and represents a commonsense approach to expanding testing and vaccination for COVID-19. As The Buckeye Institute explained during the early stages of the pandemic, pharmacists can play a pivotal role in this effort. By allowing pharmacists as well as pharmacy interns and technicians to order and administer the COVID-19 test, House Bill 6 will make testing more accessible across the state. An estimated 90 percent of Americans live within two miles of a pharmacy, so by authorizing pharmacists to administer COVID-19 vaccines House Bill 6 makes pharmacies critical access points for coronavirus testing, prevention, and treatment—especially important for rural areas facing health care shortages.

House Bill 6 reinforces the state’s testing and vaccination effort by allowing podiatrists to administer COVID-19 and influenza vaccines, and by letting those at least 17 years old and enrolled in a career technical school to register as pharmacist technician trainees. Currently, trainees must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED. These measures will expand the pool of qualified testers and vaccinators, which will make Ohio’s testing and vaccination roll-out faster.

Moving beyond the COVID-19 pandemic is essential for Ohio’s long-term success. Doing so, while managing the risks of coronavirus mutations, requires an all-hands-on-deck approach to testing, infection tracking, treatments, vaccinations, and quarantines. House Bill 6 removes obstructive regulatory red-tape and helps those efforts.

The Buckeye Institute appreciates the opportunity to submit written testimony on this important issue. 

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