It took ten years and four attempts to realize the fruits of their labor, but on June 10th, 2021, pharmacists celebrated as Maine Governor Janet Mills signed a bill that amended LD 603 “An Act Regarding the Practice of Pharmacy.” This amendment to the Maine Pharmacy Act officially redefines a pharmacist as “an individual provider of health care services licensed by this State to engage in the practice of pharmacy” and redefines pharmacy practice to include “the provision of health care services” in the definition.
Pharmacy Professor, Kenneth McCall, and Maine Pharmacy Association President, Amelia Arnold, tirelessly championed this law with the conviction that it will open opportunities for Maine pharmacists to provide care and better serve the patient community.
The COVID-19 pandemic thrust pharmacists into the spotlight, with pharmacists and pharmacy technicians providing uninterrupted care on the frontlines. Dr. McCall shares, “Pharmacists were more visible than ever to policymakers, and this bill goes beyond recognition for exemplary work. This bill (now law) is ultimately about patient care and access to pharmacist services.”
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores applauded the Maine law, stating that the “critical legislation will help enhance patients’ access to convenient and affordable pharmacy-based care by recognizing pharmacists as providers of healthcare services in the state of Maine.” They further thank State Senator Heather Sandborn, the Maine legislature, and the Retail Association of Maine for their support and efforts to recognize that pharmacists are a key player in a community health care team.