The kickoff of American Pharmacists Month (APhM) in October is always exciting for me because it falls at the same time as my birthday. My annual birthday present to myself is a flu shot. This year I added a bonus gift of a COVID-19 bivalent booster. It brought me such pride and joy for the pharmacist to jab me with these gifts knowing how our profession rose to the occasion these past few years and how pharmacists continue to be on the front line of care. Those were tears of joy on my face when Joan Kim at Grubb’s Pharmacy in Washington, DC jabbed me!
APhM is a time to celebrate pharmacists and the pharmacy team. Thank you for your continued, unwavering commitment to excellence in our profession. Looking back at the last few years, pharmacists continued to serve their patients under extremely challenging circumstances that included overstretched resources and resulted in ongoing effects on well-being and resilience. Through all of this, the impact of pharmacist and pharmacy team pandemic efforts has been profound—over 50% of COVID-19 vaccines were given by pharmacist-led teams; over 42 million COVID-19 tests were performed; and over 100,000 monoclonal antibody treatments were provided; on top of the many valuable patient care services provided daily.
Your contributions have never been more crucial, heroic, and appreciated.
Let’s celebrate the next generation of pharmacists—student pharmacists. The Oath of a Pharmacist states that “I will utilize my knowledge, skills, experiences, and values to prepare the next generation of pharmacists.” This is especially important as our workforce undergoes tremendous changes and adapts to post-pandemic realities. I am committed to leaving this profession better than I found it and have mentored many new practitioners and watched with pride as they flourish in the profession. We must all recommit ourselves to helping the next generation of pharmacists.
Let’s celebrate pharmacy technicians and the essential role that they play on the health care team. October 18th is National Pharmacy Technician Day! There are approximately 450,000 pharmacy technicians in the U.S., working closely with pharmacists in providing medication therapies, immunizations, and other patient care services. Thank you to pharmacy technicians for your critical teamwork and support!
Let’s celebrate the successes at the federal and state levels that advance pharmacists’ scope of practice and new payment models for their services. At the federal level, APhA is leading Congressional legislative efforts to make permanent groundbreaking COVID-19 authorities for testing, immunizing, and treating patients, and secure direct payment in Medicare Part B, through the Equitable Community Access to Pharmacists Services Act (H.R. 7213).
Please help APhA advocate by clicking here to use our pre-written form and urge your federal legislators to support this bill.
We’re also seeing significant progress happening in the states to advance pharmacists’ state scope of practice, increase coverage for pharmacists’ patient care services, and expand oversight, transparency, and accountability of pharmacy benefit managers. Congrats to the state associations! I expect 2023 will bring even more advancements on these fronts.
APhA will be sharing stories of how pharmacists are increasing access and improving the health of patients in their communities on our social channels throughout APhM. As we celebrate APhM, check out the tools and resources on our APhM webpage. Our team will be constantly updating the webpage and providing new information, practice materials, and news on our Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram channels.
We are deeply grateful for your contributions and the value you bring to patients daily.
And even if it isn’t your birthday month, go get your flu shot and COVID-19 booster from your pharmacist!
Ilisa BG Bernstein, PharmD, JD, FAPhA
Interim Executive Vice President and CEO
American Pharmacists Association