Important pharmacy news and late-breaking industry information updated daily.

A federal government plan to combat the coronavirus, dated March 13, warned policymakers last week that a pandemic "will last 18 months or longer" and could include "multiple waves," resulting in widespread shortages that would strain consumers and the nation's health care system.

Pharmacists and technicians in any setting where patients receive care are at work today, answering patient questions, reporting if masks and hand sanitizer are in stock, and fearing their own exposure to COVID-19. Here’s a roundup of the latest news.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced an executive order on March 10 allowing pharmacists to fill prescriptions for noncontrolled medications for 30 days, including an emergency refill, so patients can stock up and avoid going out to stores. In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law HB 389, Practice of Pharmacy, which will allow pharmacists to test and treat patients with illnesses such as influenza and strep throat as well as patients with chronic illnesses.

On March 6, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed legislation expanding pharmacists’ provider status recognition in New Mexico. The passing of HB 42, also known as Pharmaceutical Service Reimbursement Parity, marks a promising sign of success for states’ efforts to gain provider status.

FDA is giving states the ability to authorize laboratories to develop their own diagnostic tests for COVID-19, as it did recently for the New York State Department of Health. The labs will not have to obtain Emergency Use Authorization from the agency.

A new CDC guidance announcement on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) recommends against gatherings of 50 or more people for the next 8 weeks.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday declared the coronavirus a global pandemic as countries and municipalities took increasingly dramatic measures to slow the spread of the deadly contagion. WHO generally defines a pandemic as a disease that has become widespread around the world, with an impact on society.

The number of known coronavirus infections in the United States topped 1,000 Tuesday night. The first known case in the country was announced on January 21, but now new case reports are pouring in. Washington state, California, and New York have been particularly hard hit.

The number of naloxone orders dispensed in Ohio surged by 2,328% after the Ohio General Assembly approved a law in 2015 allowing pharmacists to dispense naloxone without a prescription, according to a recent study in JAMA Network Open. With prior studies estimating a 14% reduction in death by opioid-related overdose in states where access to naloxone is increased, the findings are significant.