COVID-19 Information 2/22/23
In response to the state's COVID-19 emergency proclamation, the Department of Consumer Affairs issued waivers of state law that temporarily expanded the authorized functions for specified licensees, including pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. Some of these waivers were coextensive with the temporary authorizations established under the federal Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act). When the Department's waivers expire at the end of February, the State Board of Pharmacy is encouraging interested persons to evaluate the PREP Act and public declarations issued by the Secretary of the federal Department of Health and Human Services pursuant to the PREP Act to determine eligibility for licensed pharmacists, pharmacist interns and pharmacy technicians to continue performing these expanded functions.
The PREP Act declarations will remain in place after February 28, 2023, and they include expanded authorizations for pharmacists, pharmacist interns, and licensed pharmacy technicians, subject to certain conditions specified in the federal declarations. The most recent amendment to the federal declaration is available here: Tenth Amendment to Declaration Under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act for Medical Countermeasures Against COVID-19. The federal Department of Health and Human Services also published helpful information about the PREP Act at the following web address: https://aspr.hhs.gov/legal/PREPact/Pages/default.aspx.
The federal declaration states that it preempts state law, and the United States Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel similarly concluded that PREP Act authorizations preempt state laws that might otherwise prohibit or effectively prohibit specified licensed professionals from engaging in activities authorized under a federal declaration. (U.S. Dept. of Justice, Mem. Opn. for the General Counsel, Dept. of Health and Human Services (Jan. 19, 2021) available at <https://www.justice.gov/olc/file/1356956/download>.) Also, on February 9, 2023, the federal Department of Health and Human Services posted a transition roadmap update on its website that stated that some PREP Act declarations may be impacted by the end of the federal Public Health Emergency on May 11, 2023: Fact Sheet: COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Transition Roadmap | HHS.gov.
The State Board of Pharmacy may not provide legal advice and instead encourages all persons interested in learning more about the PREP Act authorizations to review the information above and consult with legal counsel, if necessary.