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ASHP Update on Activities During and in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Paul Abramowitz posted 03-12-2020 15:16


The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a major toll on people in the United States and around the world. The pandemic is taxing our entire healthcare system and public health apparatus and has or will affect all of our daily lives. ASHP wants you to know that we are here for you as you work on the front lines of patient care to help ensure your healthcare organizations are ready and that your patients get the best care possible. We understand that you and your loved ones may be at risk and the difficulty that this presents as you work to serve your communities and care for your patients during this crisis. We also know that the risks of drug shortages present major challenges in the care of your patients. ASHP and our colleagues at the University of Utah will continue to work to keep the ASHP Drug Shortages Resource Center updated, and we will continue to advocate on your behalf through continued outreach to policymakers as you stand ready to fight this public health emergency.

Last week, we developed two white papers detailing recommendations for federal and state policymakers to address the outbreak. Today, we also sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence urging the Administration to take immediate steps to maximize pharmacist engagement in COVID-19 preparedness and response efforts. We also asked that decisive action by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services be taken to remove barriers to pharmacists’ patient care services.

ASHP also developed a COVID-19 Resource Center, and we are continually updating it with new resources from various sources, including ASHP.

Due to the current COVID-19 developments, the “Safe, Effective, and Accessible High-Quality Medicines as a Matter of National Security" summit, originally planned for next week, will be postponed. We will be working with the other co-conveners, including the American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, and United States Pharmacopeia, to reschedule this important event in the coming months to continue to drive solution-focused recommendations that address global pharmaceutical manufacturing as a national security priority.

In addition, I would like you to know what we are doing to protect our staff, members and volunteers, and everyone we interact with at ASHP headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland. This includes preparing the organization for a scenario that could include closing our offices. However, we also recognize the need to be able to continue to serve our members even if our physical offices must be closed. We are prepared to run the organization remotely so that we can continue to work on your behalf and provide the tools and resources you need to care for your patients and yourselves.

Furthermore, I would like you to know that ASHP is also assessing all of our upcoming member events on a daily basis. The ASHP Regional Delegates Conferences that are taking place at the end of April in cities around the country are being planned to be held virtually if necessary.

In regard to the ASHP Summer Meetings that are scheduled to take place in Seattle in early June, it is too early to make a final decision. However, we will be fully prepared to make that difficult decision if there is any risk whatsoever to our participants. Safety comes first, no exceptions.

During this crisis, ASHP will remain focused on how we can best assist you, our members, and work at the local, state, and federal levels to be a partner in bringing this unfortunate public health crisis to an end. If you need our assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact ASHP. Please also continue to look to ASHP for up-to-date information and resources on the COVID-19 crisis. We will get through this difficult time together, and be stronger as a profession, citizens, and as a country and global community. In the meantime, ASHP will do everything we can to support you and the patients you serve.

Thank you for everything you do, and please know that we are here for you during this very difficult time.







03-17-2020 17:45

Hi Bryna,

We absolutely agree that this is a critical issue and health systems and pharmacies are operating under extraordinary conditions. ASHP is leading the engagement with stakeholders and regulators. Based on feedback from ASHP on the critical nature of the mask shortage, the USP Compounding Expert Committee is scheduled to issue guidance on or around 3/18. Several state boards of pharmacy have issued special rules allowing relaxed garbing standards. We are continuing our work and will communicate as information is available.

Michael Ganio
ASHP Director of Pharmacy Practice and Quality 

03-17-2020 12:47

​I strongly feel ASHP should notify USP and State Boards of Pharmacy immediately to relax some regulations surrounding PPE usage. Critical needs for patient care should prioritized vs wearing a gown to make a simple IV admixture. These are unprecedented times and ASHP needs to lead on this. No govt agency will penalize a site unless they are practicing unsafely.

03-13-2020 16:59

Hi James,

ASHP recognizes the concern over PPE supply availability and the impact it will have on pharmacies nationwide.

We are engaged with The Joint Commission, USP, and regulatory stakeholders to develop guidance on the PPE shortage. We will share that information as soon as we can.

We will also be sharing the analysis of a survey we recently closed that was deployed to assess the status of PPE supplies among some member pharmacists.

Michael Ganio

ASHP Director of Pharmacy Practice and Quality

03-13-2020 09:48

Is ASHP planning on developing recommendations or a position paper on conservation of garb that could be presented to boards of pharmacy?

03-12-2020 17:36

​Thank you for this update and for mentioning the status of the ASHP Summer Conference.

Take care!

-Linda Williams, PharmD, BCACP, BC-ADM
Kingman, AZ