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10 million doses and counting: Thank you, pharmacists

By Victor Crawford, Chief Executive Officer, Pharmaceutical Segment

I am proud to announce that Cardinal Health has allocated more than 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to our network of thousands of community pharmacists. These vaccines provide the safest way of building protection against becoming seriously ill or hospitalized with the virus. COVID-19 vaccines are now available to everyone living in the U.S. age 5 and older, at no cost.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 66% percent of Americans are now fully vaccinated. Pharmacies – typically patients’ most accessible and most trusted health care provider – have administered 40% of those vaccines.

The pandemic has underscored the critical role that pharmacists play in their community’s health. From the beginning, pharmacists have served on the frontlines, pivoting their businesses to provide diagnostic testing, point of care services, vaccines and more. In many cases, they have helped their communities to overcome vaccine hesitancy.

At Cardinal Health, we are committed to providing pharmacists with support and innovative solutions, so that they can continue to do their imperative work:

  • We created our MyScheduling tool to help pharmacy staff manage clinical work by allowing the staff and/or the patient to schedule vaccine appointments. Patients can choose the time that works best for them and MyScheduling will send automated appointment reminders to the patient.
  • We’re helping pharmacists expand telepharmacy services. With technology supported by Cardinal Health’s TelePharm team, a single pharmacist can supervise and review prescriptions remotely across multiple locations and conduct counseling virtually. Telepharmacy services can establish and restore pharmacy access in “pharmacy deserts” – those areas where there is no physical pharmacy within 10 miles.
  • Last year, we joined the Future of Pharmacy Care Coalition, whose mission is to expand access to pharmacists’ services. The coalition agreed on draft legislative language that would reimburse pharmacists for their services under Medicare Part B beyond the public health emergency, which has included services related to administering COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. 
  • We support the Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act (H.R 7213), introduced earlier this year. This bill would create a direct reimbursement mechanism to pay pharmacists for the pandemic-related health services they provide older Americans. Passage and enactment of this bill would grant pharmacists “provider status” for treating  Medicare beneficiaries. The Future of Pharmacy Care Coalition is working to advance the bill in the House and achieve introduction of a companion bill in the Senate. 

We know that our communities need pharmacists today more than ever, because the pandemic is not over. As the New York Times recently reported, “The number of patients with coronavirus in American hospitals surpassed 21,000 over the past week – well below the peak levels seen in prior surges, but still a 23% rise from two weeks ago.” Yet, as the country nears a million lives lost to COVID-19, nearly a quarter of U.S. adults and children remain unvaccinated.

So, community pharmacists remain on the frontlines.

On behalf of all of us at Cardinal Health, I want to say thank you to these pharmacists. We recognize all that you’ve done since the pandemic began, tirelessly working long hours, managing increasing caseloads, educating your communities, and making so many personal sacrifices as you continue to play a key role in the health and well-being of Americans across the country. We are deeply grateful, and we are proud to support you.   

Victor Crawford is the CEO of Cardinal Health’s Pharmaceutical segment, which distributes brand and generic pharmaceutical, specialty pharmaceutical and over-the-counter healthcare and consumer products. In addition, the Pharmaceutical segment provides services to support the development of these products to pharmaceutical manufacturers and healthcare providers across the country. Crawford also serves on the board of directors of several publicly traded companies and nonprofit organizations, including The Hershey Company, Thomas Jefferson University, the National Urban League, the Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA) and Pelotonia.

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Cardinal Health is a distributor of pharmaceuticals, a global manufacturer and distributor of medical and laboratory products, and a provider of performance and data solutions for healthcare facilities. Subscribe to our News Alerts to get all of our latest news.