No Return to ‘Business As Usual’ at Pharmacies Post-COVID-19

Many of the changes occurring in pharmacies because of the COVID-19 pandemic might turn out to be permanent, according to a recent survey. Find out what percentage of pharmacists expect to continue to use plexiglass shields and masks for the foreseeable future, as well as other business changes.

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Most pharmacists don’t believe they will go back to doing business the way they did before the COVID-19 pandemic.

A survey from the National Community Pharmacists Association finds that pharmacists expect everything from plexiglass barriers and use of protective equipment will continue for the foreseeable to future.

In fact, at least half of respondents predicted the following:

  • Increased consumer demand for online product availability;
  • A continued desire to support local, community-based businesses
  • Scope of practice expansion
  • More pharmacies will offer point of care testing
  • More pharmacies will immunize
  • Increased liability concerns

The survey found that 61% percent of community pharmacists who responded suggest that more pharmacies will be offering point-of-care testing for various illnesses, including COVID-19, when that becomes available. That’s despite nearly three-quarters of respondents reporting that they didn’t offer point-of-care testing before the pandemic struck.

The NCPA COVID-19 survey was sent to 8,000 pharmacy owners and managers from May 18-May 25. Results are based on 315 responses.

Among the findings are that 61% of respondents believe that consumer demand for online products will remain high even after the crisis abates, while 56% anticipate the pandemic will lead to increased scope of practice, according to the survey. In addition, 52% predict that more neighborhood pharmacies will offer immunizations, and more than half suggest that consumers will continue to prioritize local businesses over corporate brands.

In terms of operational changes related to COVID-19, pharmacies see those continuing. For example, more than 82% said they expect that expanded home delivery and curbside service will continue. And, 60% predict continuing use of the plexiglass barriers installed to protect patients and employees. Use Masks, gloves and other protective equipment also will be ongoing, 60% of the respondents said.

About 40% of respondents expect that their own pharmacies will expand their online marketing and communications and that use of telehealth will expand.

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