Updated
December 23rd, 2018

New Jersey Expands Access to Pharmacy Care Services

New Jersey pharmacy interns and externs can now deliver biologicals, injectable medications, and vaccines, under appropriate supervision

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New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law Bill A-342/A-343, which was unanimously passed in the Assembly on December 17, 2018.   

This innovative legislation is designed to enhance healthcare delivery in New Jersey (NJ) by allowing pharmacy interns and externs to administer biologicals, vaccines, and injectable medications, by injectable or needle-free delivery methods, under appropriate supervision. 

This legislation means consumers may soon see shorter flu shot lines at their local pharmacy. 

And, pharmacists will have more time available to deliver world-class clinical services to their patients. 

According to reporting by InsiderNJ.com, the previous NJ state law said pharmacy interns and externs were not allowed to administer vaccines to any patient. 

Previously, NJ state law had allowed only licensed pharmacists to give immunizations to patients over age 18 and to administer the influenza vaccine to patients 7 years of age and older.

And, NJ pharmacists were authorized to administer certain injectable medications, under certain conditions. 

“While this law looks to provide more options for patients needing vaccines and immunizations, it does not compromise the necessary education needed to administer them,” said the law’s primary sponsor, Assemblywoman Nancy J. Pinkin (D-Middlesex). 

“This is yet another positive step that we can take to help streamline the healthcare delivery process because it allows us to serve consumers more effectively and in a timely manner.” 

Pharmacy-delivered vaccination services are rapidly being embraced by most states in the USA. 

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According to a study published in Clinical Therapeutics, all 50 states and the District of Columbia now allow pharmacists to administer immunizations to adults.   

 

During 2017, the Idaho Board of Pharmacy,  the Washington State University College of Pharmacy and Albertsons collaborated on the program that certified pharmacy technicians to be the first in the  USA to administer immunizations.

And, 20 percent of individuals chose supermarkets and drugstores to receive flu vaccines during 2013-2015. 

Moreover, this research estimated that 4.1 million additional adults were immunized in 2013 because states allowed pharmacists to administer the flu vaccine, which would have resulted between 81,000-134,000 fewer influenza infections among adults in that year, depending on vaccine effectiveness. 

New Jersey’s action this week is aligned with a new report from the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Treasury, and Labor. 

The "Reforming America’s Healthcare System Through Choice and Competition”  highlights various actions states and the federal government could take to develop a better functioning healthcare marketplace by increasing access to patient care services. 

Specifically, this report recommends states expand pharmacist scope of practice and to utilize their full skill set and training.

‘The APhA has long fought for the recognition of pharmacists as providers of quality patient care and the need to cover their services,’ said Thomas E. Menighan, BSPharm, MBA, ScD (Hon), FAPhA, APhA Executive Vice President and CEO, on Pharmacist.com. 

‘We’re very pleased the federal government has demonstrated it is listening in this new report and officially recognizes that pharmacists and other highly trained professionals can safely and effectively provide some of the same patient care services as physicians.’ said Menighan.