Hurricane Florence Sheds Light on Pharmacists’ Work and Role in Public Health

What does a pharmacist do? During American Pharmacists Month, the American Pharmacists Association wants to highlight the industry’s dedication to your health.

October is American Pharmacists Month, and in light of this summer’s intense weather events, the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) is using the month to highlight pharmacists’ role and contribution to public health.

Pharmacists took many measures before and after Hurricane Florence to ensure that people in affected areas were safe physically and in good health, in some cases dispensing emergency prescription refills and staffing temporary mobile pharmacies.

“The anguish is unimaginable, and APhA sends its sympathy and support to them,” said Thomas E. Menighan, APhA executive vice president and CEO, in a blog post. “Pharmacists play an important role in both emergency preparedness and coming to aid those in the midst of these difficult times.”

But Hurricane Florence wasn’t the only natural disaster that required extra medical attention. This summer saw some of the worst wildfires in California history, the Mount Kilauea eruption in Hawaii, and other tropical storms—all requiring the same around-the-clock care.

According to the American Pharmacists Month website, 89 percent of Americans live within five miles of a community pharmacy, although many people don’t understand what they do outside of filling prescriptions. The theme of this year’s APhA campaign, “Easy to Reach and Ready to Help,” aims to educate the public on just that, according to a press release.

During the summer, for example, pharmacists around the country were tasked with health-planning initiatives and emergency-preparedness protocols for storms and other events, as well as distributing medications, setting up mobile pharmacies, and providing care to affected areas.

Along with awareness initiatives this month, APhA will host various activities, including a briefing on Capitol Hill on October 17, where several pharmacists will speak to Congress on how the pharmacy industry can help with the opioid crisis.

(PeopleImages/Getty Images)

Jeff Hsin

By Jeff Hsin


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