By Tom Latek
The first pharmacist-led colorectal cancer screening via a non-invasive stool-based test in the country took place this week at Capital Pharmacy & Medical Equipment in Frankfurt, making Kentucky the first state to offer the procedure.
“Pharmacists are an integral part of the health care system in relation to prevention, public health issues and the dispensing of life-saving drugs,” said Ben Mudd, executive director of the Kentucky Pharmacists Association.
“Adding colorectal cancer (CRC) assessment and screening to existing pharmacy protocols can significantly impact our two-decade fight to increase CRC screening rates. When caught early, colorectal cancer is a preventable, treatable, and defeatable disease.”
The Kentucky Association of Health Plans (KAHP), the trade association representing all commercial insurers and Medicaid-administered care plans in the state, awarded the Kentucky Pharmacists Education and Research Foundation (KPERF) a $50,000 grant to increase access to them Expand screenings throughout Kentucky.
Through the partnership of KAHP and KPERF, the grant is intended to expand the number of pharmacies and pharmacists who can provide this service to Kentucky residents. Participating pharmacies will be reimbursed through grant funding for pharmacist-led screening and follow-up.
“Health funds and pharmacists are joining forces to tackle one of the leading causes of death in the Commonwealth,” said Tom Stephens, executive director of KAHP. “We can bridge the gap by offering colorectal cancer screening through a new protocol approved by the Kentucky Board of Pharmacy and approved under state laws and regulations. We are excited about the potential to be a transformative innovator among states.”
In September 2021, the Kentucky Board of Pharmacy approved a pharmacist-led colorectal cancer screening protocol that allows pharmacists to initiate dispensing of noninvasive stool-based CRC screening methods such as a stool immunochemical test or a stool DNA test at their local pharmacy. This means that eligible patients aged 45 to 85 who have an average risk of colorectal cancer will have to take one less step if they meet the requirements for pharmacist-led screening.
Whether by educating patients about various disease conditions and preventative health measures, or directing patients to a doctor when appropriate, pharmacists are uniquely positioned to help patients achieve better outcomes. Colorectal screenings and pharmacist-led protocols generally offer pharmacists another opportunity to save lives.
Pharmacies interested in offering this service to their patients should contact Dr. Contact Emily Wilkerson at [email protected]