Pharmacists authorized to administer coronavirus tests is not the relief the testing chain needs, says GlobalData

Following the authorization of licensed pharmacists by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to order and administer coronavirus tests;

Dara Lo, Medical Device Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers her view:

“COVID-19 testing is paramount to curbing spread of the disease, yet the US has faced several testing roadblocks due to a global shortage of hospital supplies and a lack of tests and qualified personnel needed to perform and process the tests.

“While the so-called deputizing of pharmacists to become front-line administers of coronavirus tests seems like it will relieve the current shortage of testing in the country, the current gold standard of testing for diagnosing COVID-19 is PCR-based, which requires a nasopharyngeal swab and then for the patient sample to be sent to a laboratory where the sample can be processed and run on a PCR machine.

“It is possible that pharmacists will increase throughput in the number of patient samples obtained, but that would require the availability of nose swabs, of which there is a shortage. The sample would still then have to be sent to a testing lab such as Quest or Labcorp, compounding the problem of already severely overloaded and backlogged testing labs.”

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