NCPDP Issues COVID-19 Guidance For Pharmacy-Led Testing For Immediate Industry Implementation

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Standards-Based Information and Protocols Support Recent Authorization for Pharmacists to Order, Administer FDA Authorized COVID-19 Tests


Swift federal authorization of pharmacists to order and administer tests has empowered and expanded pharmacists’ front-line role in the nation’s response and recovery to the COVID-19 pandemic.

NCPDP announced today the availability of urgent industry guidance to aid pharmacists in expanding COVID-19 testing across the country. The NCPDP Emergency Preparedness Information Version 1.7 document has been updated with specific guidance related to pharmacist-led COVID-19 testing as well as other updates that provide standards-based guidance and resources to the pharmacy industry during a declared national emergency such as natural disaster or pandemic.

Ready for immediate universal adoption, the NCPDP Emergency Preparedness Information document provides guidance to assist pharmacists in their expanded role of administering tests, including serology tests, and other services in the COVID-19 pandemic and global public health crisis. It addresses a range of considerations related to COVID-19 testing to facilitate the exchange of data through NCPDP’s interoperable industry standards, including:

  •     The different types of tests with varying levels of lab test complexity, specimen collection and testing procedures;
  • Product/service identifiers for FDA-authorized COVID-19 tests and test kits;
  • The scope of pharmacist-provided services which may include patient risk assessment, test ordering, test dispensing, specimen collection, and interpretation of test results; patient counseling; reporting of test results to the patient’s primary care team, as well as state and federal designated agencies;
  • Testing certifications;
  • Test products supplied through the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS);
  • Detailed guidance on completing a claim request; and
  • Payer considerations.

“Swift federal authorization of pharmacists to order and administer tests has empowered and expanded pharmacists’ front-line role in the nation’s response and recovery to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lee Ann Stember, President & CEO of NCPDP. “Pharmacists are often the first point of contact for many patients and can provide easier and more convenient access to testing for patients who need it.”

Continued Stember, “The NCPDP Emergency Preparedness Information document is the result of NCPDP members and other pharmacy industry stakeholders working around the clock to identify the challenges and solutions to support the expansion of pharmacist-provided patient care services with COVID-19 testing. It is a testament to our members’ dedication to the work of NCPDP and the need for agility and innovation in supporting better quality patient care.”

Click here to access the NCPDP Emergency Preparedness Information Version 1.7 document.

Founded in 1977, NCPDP is a not-for-profit, ANSI-accredited, Standards Development Organization with more than 1,700 members representing virtually every sector of the pharmacy services industry. Our diverse membership provides leadership and healthcare business solutions through education and standards, created using the consensus building process. NCPDP has been named in federal legislation, including HIPAA, MMA, and HITECH. NCPDP members have created standards such as the Telecommunication Standard and Batch Standard, the SCRIPT Standard for ePrescribing, the Manufacturers Rebate Standard and more to improve communication within the pharmacy industry. Our data products include dataQ®, a robust database of information on more than 80,000 pharmacies, resQ™, an industry pharmacy credentialing resource, and HCIdea®, an innovative prescriber database that provides continually updated information on more than 2.5 million prescribers. NCPDP's RxReconn® is a legislative tracking product for real-time monitoring of pharmacy-related state and national legislative and regulatory activity. For more information about NCPDP Standards, Data Services, Products, Educational Programs and Work Group meetings, go online at or call 480.477.1000.


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