Missouri law authorizes pharmacies to provide medicine for flu or strep

Published: Aug. 3, 2023 at 4:22 AM CDT
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HANNIBAL (WGEM) - While cold and flu season is still months away, a new Missouri law looks to control the spread of common illnesses.

The law allows certified pharmacies to test patients for strep, flu, or COVID and allows them to provide treatment over the counter, without a physicians authorization. Grand Pharmacy owner Greg Gilmore said the law looks to decrease the amount of traffic walk-in clinics see during cold and flu season.

He said it can also make it more convenient for patients.

“There are patients that go to the clinic, they’ve been seen, the providers sent in their medication that they need and they go home, thinking, ‘Well, it’s probably gonna be awhile until my medication is ready,’ and then the next day they think, ‘Ah well, I’ll go the next day,’ and all of a sudden they don’t pick up their medication and then a week later they have a rebound,’” Gilmore said.

Marion County Health Department Public Health Supervisor Crystal McWilliams said last year they saw large numbers of flu and strep cases in Marion County. She said walk-in clinics would benefit from the reduced traffic.

“They’ll get their test, I imagine it’ll be a rapid test so they’ll get the results pretty quick, be able to get treated and then that’ll help,” she said. “More exposures at the clinic or the hospital and then the pharmacy where it would be just one place where they can figure out what is going on and get it taken care of right there.”

She said during cold and flu seasons walk in clinics receive a lot of foot traffic. She said all those people in one place could help spread illness. McWilliams said pharmacies testing for strep or flu would help with data gathering, as more people would get tested if they know they can get their medicine same day.

Gilmore said pharmacies do need the equipment to test people in order to provide the service and the state has to certify the pharmacies as well.

The law goes into effect August 28.

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