On February 2, 2021, President Biden’s Administration formally announced the early launch of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. AmerisourceBergen’s Good Neighbor Pharmacy/Elevate Provider Network is a part of this program, and we are acting as a network administrator in partnership with the CDC for our independent pharmacy customers to have access to COVID-19 vaccines to administer to their patients. Significantly, pharmacists will receive reimbursement from Medicare for administering COVID-19 vaccines to patients during the pandemic. We are excited about the launch of this program and the important recognition by the federal government of pharmacists as a critical provider responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the announcement, direct shipment of vaccines to pharmacies was not planned until Phase 2.
For clarity, please note that this new initiative is separate from both the millions of doses sent weekly to states, territories and tribes that are sometimes administered at local pharmacies and the ongoing federal program to have Walgreens and CVS vaccinate residents at long-term care facilities.
Currently, AmerisourceBergen is not distributing the vaccines to pharmacists through the partnership. Vaccines will continue to be distributed to sites of administration via Pfizer or the CDC’s centralized distributor.
President Biden’s briefing can be found here. With the initial launch of this program, AmerisourceBergen will begin its role as a network administrator to support allocation of doses to Good Neighbor Pharmacies in select states (Kansas, Kentucky, Texas, Nebraska, Guam). Below is AmerisourceBergen’s media statement related to this new program, reinforcing our role, commitment to independents and the importance of community pharmacy during this time. We anticipate that this program will continue to expand as the weeks go on, and we are excited for independent pharmacists to be able to administer COVID-19 vaccines to their patients and for our role to support the initial launch of this program.
Formal Media Statement from AmerisourceBergen
AmerisourceBergen commends the federal government’s decision to activate the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program early to support vaccination efforts across the United States in Phase 1. With the start of this program, AmerisourceBergen will formally begin its role as a “network administrator” and place orders with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on behalf of an initial set of eligible and qualified Good Neighbor Pharmacy and Elevate Provider Network members in Kentucky, Kansas, Nebraska, Texas and Guam. Because AmerisourceBergen has a seat at the table, the Good Neighbor Pharmacy Network was selected to provide support in these jurisdictions early because of their ability to equitably serve local, hard-to-reach priority populations that are at risk for severe illness quickly and efficiently.
“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 vaccines roll-out, we have seen independent community pharmacists step up in a major way to support their states and the Federal Long-Term Care program to help get more shots in arms,” said Brian Nightengale, RPh., PhD., President of Good Neighbor Pharmacy. “We are beyond excited to see the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program kick off and give more independent community pharmacies the opportunity to join in this massive national inoculation movement. We know that this is just the start of the program and it’s encouraging to see pharmacies get pulled forward to support Phase 1. We’ll continue to work with our independent pharmacy customers to make sure more Good Neighbor Pharmacy Network members are ready to be activated as the federal program continues to expand in either Phase 1 or Phase 2.”
“The power of independent pharmacy has been on full display throughout the pandemic and now with the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Every single day, tens of thousands of pharmacists, technicians and staff members working tirelessly on the front lines to ensure their communities and patients have the care they need and are being inoculated and protected from the Coronavirus,” said Rich Tremonte, EVP and President of Community and Specialty Pharmacy at AmerisourceBergen. “We are incredibly proud of our Good Neighbor Pharmacy customers’ unwavering perseverance, and we are grateful to be their partner as they begin to receive vaccines through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.”