What can pharmacists contribute in response to the current pandemic and future public health crises? How are pharmacists uniquely positioned to serve patients?

“As one of the most important public health educators, now is the best time to speak up and inform others how to protect themselves and others during this time.”

Raechel Farewell ’18, PharmD
Dr. Farewell is an associate clinical scientist at Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research in Cambridge, Mass.

“Community pharmacists can answer patient questions in regards to risk factors, exposure and preventative measures they can take to reduce the risk of getting infected. As of May 12, 2020, pharmacists can also order testing for COVID-19 in California. This will help identify individuals who are infected and may ultimately help decrease spread of the infection in the community. In the hospital pharmacy setting, pharmacists may assist with acquisition of investigational drugs, as well as development of evidence-based protocols for the managements of COVID-19 patients.”

Jenana Maker, PharmD, BCPS
Dr. Maker, professor of pharmacy practice, completed a PGY2 infectious diseases residency at the University of California, Davis Medical Center. Her research interests include infectious diseases and nephrology.

“It is important to stay up-to-date as this is a rapidly changing topic,” said Dr. Maker.
She recommends the following resources:

“Many patients, with or without health care options, utilize the pharmacist for medical advice. There are 67,000 pharmacies in the U.S. and almost 6,000 in California. The pharmacists within these pharmacies are uniquely positioned to help deliver certain forms of health care to the public: lab draws, virus tests, antibody tests and vaccines. The current pandemic may drive a rapid addition of responsibilities and increase the public’s awareness of the vital role pharmacists have in health care.”

Michael Freudiger ’11, PharmD, APh, BCPS, BCSCP
Dr. Freudiger is a compounding and regulatory compliance supervisor at Saint Agnes Medical Center in Fresno and Valley Children’s Healthcare in Madera. He is a senior consultant for the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and offers consulting through his business, Freudiger Pharmacy Consulting.

“In my current role I do a lot of research and try to keep up to date with all the COVID-19 treatments and tests. I attend meetings and make recommendations on the information I come across. Pharmacists are on the frontlines, they can give advice, educate and provide care for patients. Some pharmacists are already providing COVID-19 tests, most will soon provide them at drive-throughs. When a vaccine is available, they will administer it. Pharmacists play a critical role in hospitals, clinics and industry.”

Simona Dorf ’03, PharmD, BCMAS
Dr. Dorf is a clinical pharmacist, editorial manager at First Databank, Inc., a leading provider of drug and medical device knowledge.

“Pharmacists can filter out the unproven and unreliable news for our patients. Pharmacists continue to be a trusted source of pharmacological information. We also have high exposure to interacting with the public. Pharmacists can be utilized to help with antibody or viral load testing.”

Jamie Tobitt ’90, PharmD, MSL-BC
Dr. Tobitt is a senior medical science liaison at bluebird bio, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on developing gene therapies for severe genetic disorders and cancer.

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