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Commentary: Pharmacy services during COVID-19

How has the role of pharmacists developed during the current outbreak was a question posed in a recent commentary that paid homage to the efforts of pharmacists in China during the initial COVID-19 outbreak.

The commentary outlined the specific pharmacy service needs required during the pandemic: drafting professional service guidance to pharmacists; establishing emergency drug formularies based on treatment guidelines; working with drug companies and distributors to ensure adequate supplies, storage and transport of formulary medicines; providing event-drive pharmaceutical care; establishing remote pharmacy services; educating the public on infection prevention and disease management and finally involvement on clinical research to screen, evaluate and develop anti-viral medicines.

How each of these needs was achieved is described with examples. For instance, one hospital Pharmacy created an online and remote service using the Chinese social media app WeChat®, offering patients free consultations, education and the opportunity to purchase medicines online and thus reducing unnecessary hospital visits.

Though describing the efforts of pharmacists in China, the article offers an important insight into how pharmacy services across the globe could potentially evolve in response to the current crisis.

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