ACPHS In The News

Students Lobby Lawmakers to Expand Patient Care by Pharmacists

ACPHS Pharmacy Students at the Capitol during Lobby Day 2024
April 15, 2024

An ACPHS delegation of some 50 pharmacy doctoral students made up about one-fifth of pharmacists and students statewide lobbying state legislators Monday for passage of bills that would expand pharmacists’ scope of practice and access to patient care.

The Lobby Day, hosted by the Pharmacy Society of the State of New York, is an annual event in which Panthers participate, as members of the student chapter of the trade association, known as SPSSNY.

“It’s definitely a really cool privilege that students should take advantage of,” said Ashley Monette, president of the ACPHS SPSSNY chapter, referring to the ability to get an audience with Albany lawmakers to advocate for the pharmacy profession.

“It’s a chance to advocate for these laws and make sure we can practice at the top of our license,” said Carter Huntley, noting that pharmacists in New York are not allowed to perform the same duties as those in other states, though they are trained to do so.

ACPHS PharmD students were among about 250 people advocating for three bills, two of which were sponsored in the state Assembly by alum John McDonald ’85 (D-Cohoes). The bills seek to:

  • Expand the diagnostic tests that pharmacists can administer to include tests at low risk for a false result, including those for respiratory syncytial virus, certain streptococcal infections, blood sugar levels, hepatitis C and HIV. Pharmacists already administer tests for influenza and COVID-19.
  • Allow pharmacists to begin treatment for patients who test positive for COVID-19, Group A strep and flu.
  • Expand registered pharmacy technician’s practice to include compounding medications and administering vaccinations to patients.

Students said they were energized by an increase in Lobby Day participation over the last several years, following the COVID pandemic, and the successes achieved at last year’s event. Two bills that students advocated for last year – one to increase birth control access in pharmacies and another to increase the number of long-acting injectables that pharmacists can administer for mental illness and substance disorders – have become state law.

“It’s nice to know we’re making a difference, and our voices are being heard,” Monette said, adding that in many communities, pharmacists are patients’ most accessible health practitioner.

Several students echoed Huntley’s statements about the two bills that would allow pharmacists to do more testing and treating.

“It gives us a chance to be more involved in the medical field,” said Nana Dwomoh Osei.

Several others, some of whom have worked as pharmacy techs, said the bill regarding that practice piqued their interest. Kelsey Watson and Kaitlyn Kauff said that if pharmacy techs could do more, it would free pharmacists to spend their time on more complicated tasks as well as patient care.

“To have techs be able to be part of it would be beneficial,” said Kauff, who has worked as a pharmacy tech in her native state of Florida.

McDonald advised the students that when they visited legislators, some would express concern over opposition to the bills by physicians’ trade associations oppose the bill.

“This is not about encroaching on the turf of the physicians,” McDonald said. “It’s to help them properly help their patients in the non-urgent matters.”

In addition to McDonald, students heard from state Sen. Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx), who sponsored the bills to expand testing and treatment by pharmacists in the Senate.

SPSSNY President Ashley Monette took over ACPHS' Instagram account during Lobby Day. Visit the Events section of acphsofficial to see videos.