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News & Press: Legislative and Regulatory News

3-27-2020 COVID-19 Update

Friday, March 27, 2020   (0 Comments)
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Continuing Saga of COVID-19

Dear Colleagues – 

Below is your daily e-mail news from PSHP. We welcome all feedback & contributions.  

PSHP and other organizations within Pennsylvania continue to work toward getting the governor to add a waiver authorizing pharmacists NOT to fill prescriptions for Hydroxychloroquine, Chloroquine, and Azithromycin, Kaletra, and other related medications other than for a COVID-19 diagnosis, when the diagnosis has been confirmed by a positive test result, and those already taking these medications for other chronic FDA-approved indications.

Hospitals’ Access to Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine as Suppliers Unable to Keep Up with 6,842% and 2,196% Increases in Orders

Vizient, Inc. Announcement 3/24/2020
“. . . the extent of evidence regarding the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine is limited. Hospitals and health systems are best positioned to support this need given their responsibility for managing the most critically ill patients and in investigational drug research for critical care therapies . . .”

DUTY-FREE ETHYL ALCOHOL – Pennsylvania Procedure:  For those of you who remember hospital pharmacies used to maintain (1) a federal permit from the ATF which classiifed your hospitals’ proposed use and quantity of ethyl alcohol.  Most of us were either duty-free (tax-free status) and then based on the annual quantity (expressed in “proof gallons”) you were able to obtain (2) a state license from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB).  Normally, the purchases were either for your Histology or Pathology Laboratories or for research use.  Over the years, many of the Labs switched their equipment.   The procedures were then all switched to Reagent Alcohol (or denatured) and most pharmacies stopped their purchasing of Ethanol, and let both their state license and their ATF Permit expire.

With the lack of alcohol-based hand sanitizer available, some facilities will soon be able to purchase this product from their local distilleries (the federal and state governments are finalizing this approval, process, and shelf life (expiration dating).  Currently, procedures have been approved for these distilleries to sell the alcohol-based hand sanitizer to First Responders only.   

Others would like to make their own; however, without these licenses and permits in place, alcohol manufacturer’s cannot sell bulk ethanol to the facilities.  We are hopeful these procedures will be reconciled soon; but if not, then PSHP will be joining others in proposing a temporary waiver on the state license for purchasing and making alcohol-based hand sanitizer during this crisis. Stay tuned for more on this!

With the shortage of N95, surgical masks, and other related “sterile” masks, ABC6 News, Philadelphia,  aired a story Monday evening, about several smaller companies with designs for new, inexpensive face-shields that are assisting us in the front-line to provide protection from droplet contamination. Watch for these as possible alternatives soon,  to reusing masks or washing fabric masks after each shift.  One such example pictured below, from Lennon Rodgers, Director of the Engineering Design Innovation Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Educational Opportunities for both our PA-based Residency Programs & IPPE / APPE-based Students 

PSHP will begin to investigate the possibility for making our Pennsylvania-based Residency Programs able to host their Projects using “live feeds”. This to assist our Residents with fulfilling the required Live-Presentation, and at the same time, assist our IPPE and APPE students during their rotations with mandatory participation in these live broadcasts as part of their educational requirements. This will keep Residency completion and graduations on time, and it will enhance the educational requirements of our students during training. Those interested in assisting in these efforts please reach out via email.

ASHP – “has your back” –Critical Care Certified Pharmacists Course Package 

ASHP has opened access to their Critical Care Pharmacy Review Course, Pract Exam, and Core Therapeutic Modules Package making it available to all pharmacists at no cost through May 31. 

Please use discount code: COVID-19 at checkout. ASHP is committed to supporting all healthcare providers from around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic. This course is normally $425 - $625 but is now FREE for ALL pharmacists. See details below, click image to access the course package. 

From a local Erie, PA Newspaper today, shared by one of our members

Image by Mike Luckovich (@mluckovichajc) via Twitter. Mike Luckovich is a Pulitzer Prize-winning  cartoonist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Thank you for your active participation in the profession of pharmacy!   

Larry Jones

PSHP Executive Director

Other suggestions or related issues?

To make this information meaningful, please provide us feedback on what you would like to see in this BLAST and all are invited to please contribute information to post by submitting your information to us via email.  

Disclaimer:  The information provided in these e-mail blasts is intended to be shared across all Directors of Pharmacy in Pennsylvania and our PSHP members for individual determination, to assist facilities with product and/or service alternatives (suggestions only) as appropriate for Peer Review.  It is not intended to be interpreted as a mandate or as a PSHP-supported modification nor as an acceptable regulation alternative.  For this the PA State Board of Pharmacy has the final authority.


Pennsylvania Society of Health-System Pharmacists
PO Box 22520, Philadelphia, PA 19110 | (978) 364-5097 |

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