TRENTON, NJ --  Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Daniel Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex) to expand access to insurance-covered COVID-19 testing passed the General Assembly unanimously Monday.  

Under the measure, Assembly Bill 4012, licensed pharmacists would be able to order and administer COVID-19 (coronavirus) tests approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and consistent with federal guidance and waivers.

"Under this legislation, we would be leveraging the strong, existing relationships between pharmacists and communities at the most local level. Drawing on these trusted sources, who are often closer to home than some of the larger testing sites, we would then see existing obstacles to testing fall away and people more actively getting tested," said Benson. 

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Manufacturers of COVID-19 tests would be required to register with the FDA and give reasonable assurance of test authenticity is provided prior to shipments. Pharmacies also would need to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to staff in addition to putting policies and protocols in place to ensure safe social distancing is possible.

"The greater the opportunity for everyone to get tested, the better our public health outcome and ability to stop a second wave in its tracks will be," said Benson.  "With people returning to more normal social activities as restaurants, businesses, amusement parks and casinos reopen, paving the way for easy access to safe and reliable testing is not just smart, it saves lives."

Individuals testing positive for COVID-19 would need to be advised by the pharmacist on self-isolation and given the necessary resources, such as the COVID-19 Home Care Guide. Those with high risk for health complications or experiencing severe symptoms would be advised to seek hospital or primary care treatment.

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