Bill seeks to allow pharmacists to treat patients for flu, strep throat

Posted at 2:15 PM, Feb 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-14 10:27:18-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (The News Service of Florida) - Legislation filed at the state capitol would allow pharmacists to test and treat customers for the flu and strep throat. 

Currently, some pharmacists are allowed to administer flu shots and other vaccines. However, they are not allowed to check if a person has the flu virus.

Under the proposal, qualified pharmacists could administer flu and strep throat tests, and dispense appropriate medicine to address the illnesses.

Supporters of the legislation say allowing pharmacists to test for flu will encourage more Floridians to get a checkup, as waiting a few minutes at a pharmacy is preferable to waiting several hours in a doctor’s office.

State Representative Cary Pigman, who is also an emergency room doctor, says he and other physicians will be able to better treat those who are truly sick if the bill becomes law.

“What this bill tries to achieve is to take the walking wounded, the people who are otherwise healthy but are ill, and would like to get seen straight away," said State Rep. Pigman, R- Avon Park. "We allow them to go to a pharmacy to be tested, and if positive, be treated.”

The measure is currently opposed by the Florida Medical Association, which represents a majority of physicians in the state.

Bill supporters say doctors should not look at the legislation as creating competition, but rather as a more convenient way to help sick Floridians. So far, the bill must pass one more House committee before it can be discussed by the full chamber.

In the Senate, the legislation has yet to pass a single committee.