Pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare providers in the U.S. and are on the front lines of the current coronavirus disease 2019-2020 outbreak. The Ohio Pharmacists Association is working with state leaders and closely monitoring developments related to COVID-19 from both the Centers for Disease Control and Ohio Department of Health. We will update this resource page as new resources and news becomes available.
Use this one page summary document created by Harvard Medical School students to review the virology and basic background of COVID-19. As patients are asking questions regarding COVID-19 symptoms, use this guide to help you differentiate between COVID-19, seasonal flu, a cold and seasonal allergies.
Help OPA Promote the Importance of Pharmacist Care During this Pandemic
As pharmacists are on the front lines working to help contain the pandemic, providing patient care, and ease the concerns and fears of the general public. Ohio Pharmacists Association created a short survey to help tell your story. Please fill out this survey to help OPA share the amazing work you are doing to the general public, other organizations and social media.
OPA has been contacted by members about their shortage of pharmacy team members during the COVID-19 outbreak. To assist pharmacy staffing needs, we are working to develop the OPA COVID-19 Pharmacy Relief Registry.
If you are a pharmacist, pharmacy intern, or registered/certified pharmacy technician who is willing to temporarily assist another practice site in Ohio, please register using the button below. By providing your information, you agree to have your name, city, email, and phone number listed on the Members Only page of the OPA website to be contacted to fill staffing needs.
The Ohio Department of Health opened a call center to answer questions from the public regarding coronavirus (COVID-19). The call center will be open seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and can be reached at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).
For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 and resources visit coronavirus.ohio.gov. (Updated daily at 2 p.m. regarding the most current cases in Ohio.)
The Ohio Department of Health has many resources and guidance documents to help healthcare providers care for the ill and mitigate their own risk. Read the guidance documents here.
Public Health and Executive orders signed by the Governor and Health Director in response to COVID-19
Governor DeWine Executive Orders
On April 4, 2020, Executive Order 2020-09D was signed expanding telehealth for mental health and counseling services. Read the executive order here.
On March 19, 2020, Executive Order 2020-05D was signed expanding access to telemedicine for Medicaid population. Read the executive order here.
On March 17, 2020, Executive Order 2020-04D was signed allowing temporary child care facilities for healthcare employees. Read the executive order here.
On March 13, 2020, Executive Order 2020-02D was signed easing the teacher/student ratio currently required for day cares and preschools. Read the executive order here.
On March 9, 2020, Executive Order 2020-01D declared a State of Emergency in Ohio. Read the press release here.
Ohio Department of Health
On July 22, 2020 Governor DeWine issued a statewide mask order. Read the order here.
On May 29, 2020 Ohio Department of Health announced Updated and Revised Order for Business Guidance and Social Distancing. Read the order here.
On May 26, 2020, Governor DeWine announced the formation of Congregate Care Unified Response Teams to test residents and staff members in Ohio's nursing homes. Read the details here.
On May 20, 2020, Ohio released details of Ohioans Protecting Ohioans which will replace the Stay Safe Ohio order. Read the order here.
On April 27, 2020, Governor DeWine announced details of Ohio's Responsible RestartOhio Plan. Read the details here.
Governor DeWine updated the details of Ohio's Responsible RestartOhio Plan. Read the guide for Health Care here.
On April 10, 2020, the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation announced their Board approved $1.6 billion dividend for Ohio employers. The update can be accessed here.
On April 1, 2020, the Ohio Department of Health announced it is prohibiting hospitals from using private labs for testing. Read the order here.
On March 22, 2020, Ohio will be under a "stay-at-home" order effective at 11:59pm on March 23, 2020. Read the order here.
The "stay-at-home" order will continue. Read the details here.
UpdatedOhio rescinds and modifies portions of the "stay-at-home" order. Details can be found here.
On March 21, 2020, the Ohio Department of Transportation announced it will waive overnight vehicle fees for vehicles involved in transporting essential goods such as groceries and medical equipment. The update can be accessed here.
On March 21, 2020, the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensations announced it will delay premium payments for March, April, and May until at least June 1, 2020. The update can be accessed here. Additional information can be accessed here.
On March 21, 2020, Ohio limits all adult day support and vocational behavioral services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to no more than 10 people. Read the press release here.
On March 15, 2020, Ohio limits food, alcohol sales to carry out and delivery only. Read the press release here.
On March 14, 2020, Ohio Department of Health released an updated guidance for resource management. Read the details here.
On March 14, 2020, Governor DeWine orders the closure of all K-12 schools in the State of Ohio starting at the conclusion of the school day on March 16 through April 3. Read the press release here.
UpdatedK-12 Schools will remain closed until May 1, 2020. Read the details here.
On March 14, 2020, Ohio mandates health screening for admission to state operated psychiatric hospitals or to Department of Youth Services Facilities. Read the ODH Director’s order here.
On March 12, 2020, Ohio bans mass gathering of 100* or more. Read the press release here.
The ban number for mass gatherings in Ohio has been reduced to 10 on March 21.
State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy
The Board has provided guidance on their response to the COVID-19. The guidance document can be found here, and more information is provided below.
Unless otherwise approved by the Board, no prescription for chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine may be dispensed by a pharmacist or sold at retail by a licensed terminal distributor of dangerous drugs unless all the following apply:
The prescription bears a written diagnosis code from the prescriber; and
If written for a COVID-19 diagnosis, the diagnosis has been confirmed by a positive test result, which is documented on the prescription and both of the following apply:
The prescription is limited to no more than a fourteen-day supply; and
No refills may be permitted unless a new prescription is furnished.
Prescriptions for either presumptive positive patients or prophylactic use of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine related to COVID-19 is strictly prohibited unless otherwise approved by the board’s executive director in consultation with the board president, at which time a resolution shall issue.
On March 26, 2020, the Board approved the use of these medications as part of a documented institutional review board-approved clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the drugs to treat COVID-19. Prescriptions must include documentation that the patient is enrolled in a clinical trial.
On March 26, 2020, the Board approved the use of these medications for the continuation of inpatient treatment for COVID-19 in patients discharged from a hospital. The prescriber shall be required to notate on the prescription that the patient has been discharged from the hospital and the prescription shall be for no more than a fourteen-day supply.
Updated On April 14, 2020, the Board updated the duration of inpatient treatment using chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine for patients with COVID-19 discharged from a hospital.The prescriber shall be required to notate on the prescription that the patient has been discharged from the hospital and the prescription shall be for no more than a seven-day supply (no refills authorized). This applied for patients discharged from an emergency department for a probable COVID-19 diagnosis, based upon case classifications established by the Ohio Department of Health.
COVID-19 Mandatory Safety Requirements
On March 18, 2020, the Board issued mandatory requirements for pharmacies to implement safeguards to ensure pharmacy professionals practice in a safe and effective manner. The guidance can be accessed here. These safeguards include:
for pharmacies open to the public, consider developing a process for adults 60+, pregnant women, and individuals with chronic health conditions to pick up medication without waiting in line;
implement infection control procedures, especially for waiting areas; and
Pharmacies with workspaces that currently allow patients to get closer than the minimum recommended distance of 3 feet should post signage or utilize other methods to ensure patients who are waiting maintain a safe distance. Note: This does not apply to patients who must interact with pharmacy staff (i.e., for purpose of payment, immunizations, etc.) or pharmacies that are not open to the public.
Pharmacists and pharmacy interns are no longer permitted to administer immunizations or other injections without standard protective measures. Standard protective measures do not include the use of a mask and gown.
Pharmacists and pharmacy interns shall not administer any immunizations or other injections to patients displaying or reporting symptoms of respiratory illness, including fever, cough or shortness of breath. Note: You are not mandated to check temperature before administration of vaccines or other injections.
monitor pharmacy staff for symptoms of respiratory illness. Note: This does not require mandatory temperature checks, but the Ohio Department of Health recommends pharmacies take staff temperatures once per shift.
While we appreciate the Board of Pharmacy's quick action to protect pharmacy staff and patients, you all are instrumental in making sure that pharmacies comply with these requirements. If you feel that your pharmacy is not taking adequate measures to maintain safe distancing between staff and and patients, provide for a clean practice setting, or provide reasonable amounts of protective equipment (recognizing the shortage of PPE), please keep us informed, and let the board of pharmacy know as well.
We have heard from a number of pharmacists that they are documenting safety concerns and sending formal questions, issues, and complaints to managers and leaders at their pharmacies, but instead of receiving a written response, pharmacists are instead receiving phone call responses. Pharmacists have stated that they believe that a lack of written responses are being done as a means to possibly avoid the accountability that documentation provides. We have been advised by the board of pharmacy that if you feel that something nefarious is occurring in this regard, you should file a complaint.
A reminder to all pharmacists: it is your license, and if you feel that someone is unreasonably getting in the way of the safe practice of pharmacy, it is important to speak out. We will be working to make sure your voices are heard.
COVID-19 Waivers and Guidance for Licensees
NEWOn July 7, 2020, the Board adopted the FDA's Temporary Policy on Prescription Drug Marketing Act Requirements for Distribution of Drug Samples During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. This guidance can be found here.
On May 8, 2020, the Board developed the following guidance for licensees in response to Responsible Restart Ohio. This guidance can be accessed here.
On April 23, 2020, the Board developed the following guidance to assist hospitals and other healthcare facilities in obtaining drugs that may not be commercially available from manufacturers or wholesalers due to COVID-19. This guidance can be accessed here.
On April 23, 2020, the Board consolidated all compounding resolutions and guidance into a single document. This guidance can be accessed here.
On April 17, 2020, the Board extended the recertification of primary and secondary engineering controls in accordance with guidance issued by USP. This guidance can be accessed here.
On April 17, 2020, the Board authorized the temporary waiver of the 5 percent limit on the occasional wholesale sales of dangerous drugs by a licensed pharmacy set forth in rule 4729:5-3-09 of the Administrative Code. This guidance can be accessed here.
On April 14, 2020, the Board authorized an Ohio pharmacy to request a temporary waiver to permit a pharmacist to supervise up to five pharmacy technician trainees at one time (up from the current limit of three). This guidance can be accessed here.
On April 14, 2020, the Board authorized the sale and shipment of patient-specific, non-reportable dangerous drugs by non-Ohio licensed border state facilities to patients residing in the state under certain conditions. This guidance can be accessed here.
On April 9, 2020, the Board authorized the delegation to an Ohio-licensed APRN who is designated as a certified nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, certified nurse midwife or physician assistant the management of a consult agreement authorized under section 4729.39 of the Revised Code. This guidance can be accessed here.
UpdatedOn April 7, 2020, the Board authorized pharmacists, pharmacy interns, and certified pharmacy technicians to conduct FDA-approved COVID-19 testing under certain conditions. This guidance can be accessed here.
On April 7, 2020, the Board authorized nurses (LPN, RN, APRN) to stock automated drug storage systems within a terminal distributor of dangerous drugs under certain conditions. This guidance can be accessed here.
On April 3, 2020, the Board authorized the temporary reinstatement of lapsed or expired Ohio pharmacist licenses in Ohio under certain conditions. This guidance can be accessed here.
On March 31, 2020, the Board authorized the use of temporary satellite locations for the storage and use of dangerous drugs during COVID-19. This guidance can be accessed here.
On March 31, 2020, the Board authorized a temporary extension of the annual controlled substance inventory requirements pursuant to rule 4729:5-3-07 of the Administrative Code. This guidance can be accessed here.
Updated On March 31, 2020, the Board authorized an extension of the renewal date for registered pharmacy technicians and automatic technician trainee extensions. This guidance can be accessed here.
On March 26, 2020, the Board authorized expedited onboarding of pharmacy technician trainees. The guidance can be accessed here.
On March 26, 2020, the Board authorized pharmacists, pharmacy interns and pharmacy technicians licensed in other states to work in Ohio. The guidance can be accessed here.
On March 24, 2020, the Board authorized the sale and shipment of non-reportable dangerous drugs that are in shortage by unlicensed, out-of-state facilities. This guidance can be accessed here.
On March 24, 2020, the Board authorized expedited licensure of drug distributors. This guide can be accessed here.
Updated On May 6, 2020, the Board extended the annual due diligence requirements for drug distributors until August 31, 2020. The updated guidance can be accessed here.
On March 20, 2020, the Board authorized registered pharmacy technicians to stock automated drug storage systems and send and receive copies of non-controlled prescriptions, under certain conditions. Additional clarification is provided on the positive identification requirements for technicians transferring prescriptions can be accessed here.
Updated On March 20, 2020, the Board authorized licensees to perform sterile compounding for another licensee, referred to as central compounding. The guidance can be accessed here.
On March 18, 2020, the Board authorized the temporary expansion of the maximum days' supply from 31 days to 60 days for prescriptions dispense to patients. The guidance can be accessed here.
On March 18, 2020, the Board authorized prescribers to delegate personally furnished non-controlled drug samples to nurses. The guidance can be accessed here.
Updated On April 14, 2020, the Board expanded authorizes prescribers to delegate personally furnishing of all non-controlled drugs as opposed to drug samples.
On March 18, 2020, the Board authorized an extension of basic life-support training certification for pharmacists and pharmacy interns if their certification is set to expire on or after March 1, 2020. The recertification must be obtained no later than July 16, 2020. The guidance can be accessed here.
On March 18, 2020, the Board authorized home delivery of medication by opioid treatment programs under specific conditions. The guidance can be accessed here.
On March 18, 2020, the Board authorized prescribers working in an opioid treatment program licensed as a terminal distributor of dangerous drugs to temporarily delegate personally furnishing of buprenorphine products to a nurse. The guidance can be accessed here.
On March 16, 2020, the Board extended the renewal date for registered pharmacy technician by 120 days and automatic trainee extensions. The guidance can be accessed here.
On March 16, 2020, the Board authorized expedited onboarding of pharmacy technician trainees. The guidance can be assessed here.
On March 16, 2020, the Board authorized pharmacists and pharmacy technicians licensed in other states to work in Ohio pharmacies under certain condition. The guidance can be assessed here.
On March 16, 2020, the Board authorized the extension of emergency refills. The guidance can be assessed here. This extends:
the emergency refill of schedule III-V controlled substances to not exceed a 30-day supply or the days' supply indicated on the pharmacy's records (as opposed to a 72-hour supply);
permits a pharmacist to authorize emergency refills for a particular drug up-to-three times in any twelve-month period (this applies to both schedule III-V controlled and non-controlled substances); and
in lieu of three 30-day emergency refills, a pharmacist may dispense a one-time emergency refills of a 90-day supply for a particular non-controlled substance medication.
UpdatedOn March 16, 2020, the Board authorized exemption to rule authorizing the compounding of drugs in shortage and expanded the definition of drug shortage. The guidance can be accessed here.
Updated On March 14, 2020, the Board authorized compounding and sale of certain alcohol-based hand sanitizer products by Ohio-licensed pharmacies and outsourcing facilities. The guidance can be assessed here.
UpdatedOn March 14, 2020, the Board authorized licensees conducting sterile compounding to reuse certain personal protective equipment (PPE). The guidance can be accessed here.
Updated On March 30 and April 14, 2020, the Board issued additional guidance to reflect FDA updates.
On March 13, 2020, the Board authorized the practice of remote order entry for all licensed/registered pharmacy personal. The guidance can be accessed here.
Ohio law permits pharmacies to use couriers and other delivery services to deliver patient medications. Additionally, there are no rules or laws prohibiting the use of technicians, interns or support personnel to deliver medications to patients waiting in the store (e.g. curbside pickup).
Ohio law permits pharmacies and other terminal distributors of dangerous drugs to provide services outside the pharmacy as long as they are on the physical premises of the licensed location (e.g. setting up temporary drive-thru to limit pharmacy personnel exposure, offering immunizations at another location in the store).
The Board of Pharmacy does not require signatures for picking up a prescription. For patient counseling, a verbal offer or providing an offer to counsel in writing is required under the patient counseling rule.
Ohio law permits pharmacists, pharmacy interns, and certified technicians to administer CLIA-waived testing. Additional guidance will be provided by the Board as there is increased availability of testing.
Ohio law authorizes a pharmacist who is filling or refilling a prescription that has one ore more refills to dispense the drug in a quantity or amount that varies from the quantity or amount that would otherwise be dispensed. Guidance can be accessed here.
Ohio law authorizes a pharmacist to dispense medications without a prescription under certain condition as emergency refills. Guidance can be accessed here.
Ohio law authorizes one or more pharmacists practicing under a consult agreement. Guidance can be accessed here. Pharmacists can have a consult agreement with one or more physician to manage the following:
manage a patient’s drug therapy (including authorizing refills) for specific diagnoses or diseases; and
On March 20, 2020, the Ohio Department of Insurance issued an order for payment grace period of health insurance premium payments for two months. This would ensure that an employees can still be covered by their plan even if the employer is not able to pay their premium payments.
Pharmacy Benefit Manager Changes
For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 and the changes from pharmacy benefit managers visit their websites.
CARES Act Provider Relief Fund: supports American families, workers, and the heroic healthcare providers in the battle against the COVID-19 outbreak. HHS is distributing $175 billion to hospitals and healthcare providers on the front lines of the coronavirus response.
U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small business suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19.