Pharmacy Groups Urge for COVID-19 Testing Authority for California Pharmacists


To date, 19 states have authorized pharmacists to order and conduct testing for COVID-19.


The California Retailers Association (CRA) and National Association for Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) are urging California to remove remaining legal barriers on pharmacists for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing.

In a letter to the Director Kimberly Kirchmeyer from the California Department of Consumer Affairs, the groups requested immediate authorization of COVID-19 testing by pharmacies to meet the high demand.

In April, the Department of Health and Human Services made the decision to allow pharmacists to order and conduct testing for COVID-19, including serology tests. The Pharmacists for Healthier Lives Coalition called expanding testing abilities for the virus a “critical component in our nation’s efforts to reduce the number of cases, ease burdens on our overutilized hospitals and clinics, and protect the safety of our communities.”

Community pharmacists are in a prime position to provide such testing, especially as the FDA has authorized several point-of-care COVID-19 tests. According to the letter, to date, 19 states have already authorized pharmacists to provide COVID-19 testing.

Related: NCPA Survey: Independent Pharmacies Report Financial Strain from COVID-19 Pandemic

The 19 states with emergency testing authority for pharmacists are: Colorado, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Washington, Wisconsin, and Texas.

“We respectfully request that the state immediately authorize COVID-19 testing by pharmacists to drive the health of our communities, and restore the health of the state’s economy,” wrote CRA President Rachel Michelin and NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderosn, IOM, CAE. “As the Governor and other experts have acknowledged, more testing for COVID-19 in California is desperately needed.”

In addition, the groups urged for authorization for California pharmacists to test and treat for the virus as forthcoming treatments are authorized by the FDA, as well as for administration of future COVID-19 vaccines and the temporary authority to substitute therapeutic alternatives during drug shortages.



1. Michelin R, Anderson SC. Re: Executive Order N-39-20–Request for Pharmacy Law Waivers. National Association for Chain Drug Stores; April 22, 2020. Accessed April 24, 2020.

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