For Immediate Release: February 14, 2018
FRF hosted press conference today highlighting the importance of passing SB 524 which would allow pharmacists to test and treat for the flu and prescribe TamiFlu, helping to save lives
TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association celebrating more than 80 years in supporting Florida’s retail industry, hosted a press conference today to help shine the spotlight on proposed legislation which would allow pharmacists to test and treat for the flu and then prescribe TamiFlu to the consumer, helping to save the lives of those suffering from flu-like symptoms. FRF President/CEO R. Scott Shalley was joined by Senator Jeff Brandes (R- St. Petersburg) and Representative Rene Placensia (R- Orlando) who are both bill sponsors and supporters of this important legislation.
“We want to thank Senator Brandes and Representative Placensia for their leadership in trying to get this crucial legislation passed and for recognizing the important and life-saving role that pharmacists can play in helping to fight the flu,” said Shalley. “It is our hope that the legislature recognizes the error of their ways, realizes the potentially thousands of lives they could be saving by passing this bill and votes yes when it comes back up for a vote.”
There is widespread flu activity from this season’s flu outbreak all across the continental U.S. – something that has not happened in the U.S. Center for Disease Control & Prevention’s 13 years of tracking the spread of influenza. This year’s flu is also particularly contagious and can be spread more easily just by breathing rather than by coughs and sneezes. For context, a mild flu season tends to kill about 12,000 Americans while a severe flu season kills about 56,000. With thousands of pharmacies throughout Florida, millions of Floridians would have access to healthcare and help with surviving the flu.
This expanded prescribing would come with training and continuing education courses for the pharmacists. Pharmacists seeking to test for and treat the influenza virus must obtain certification through a program approved by the Board of Pharmacy and they must test for and treat the influenza virus within the framework of an established written protocol under a supervising physician. This bill would provide many safeguards to ensure that every pharmacist is qualified, knowledgeable and capable of administering the flu test correctly.
“It’s our hope the legislature will advance both of these bills, and allow people quick access to both knowing they have the flu, while also providing immediate access to the one drug that can help them recover from it,” said Shalley.
ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
Founded in 1937, the Florida Retail Federation is celebrating more than 80 years as the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers are responsible for one out of every five jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year. In fact, more than three out of four of Florida’s budget dollars come from retail-related activity.