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Florida lawmakers push to allow pharmacists to treat and test flu and strep throat

Posted at 4:43 PM, Oct 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-23 16:43:51-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Some state lawmakers are aiming to help those who get the flu or strep throat in Florida to avoid a trip to the doctor’s office.

Two bills have been proposed to allow pharmacists to do both the testing and treating.

“It will make access to healthcare quicker,” said pharmacist T.J. DePaola at Cypress Pharmacy in Fort Myers.

A Florida Senate bill and House bill proposes to let pharmacists test and treat patients for the flu and strep throat.

“That way it bypasses having to sit in a doctor’s office and wait for a long period of time,” said DePaola.

The bills will allow pharmacists who meet certain requirements to do it without having to go through the doctor.

“Right now, since the bill hasn’t passed, we would still have to contact the doctor to get the prescription if they test positive for flu or strep,” said DePaola.

“I had strep five times in my college days and got my tonsils out,” said customer Kathleen Coughlin.

Coughlin said it’s a lot of work going to the doctor’s office, and just making a trip to the pharmacy would make things easier for her niece’s kids.

“As opposed to having to make an appointment with her primary care doctor and have to go to multiple locations to be treated for one thing,” said Coughlin.

Right now, 15 other states already allow pharmacists to test and treat flu and strep throat.

DePaola said this could save you time and money. Plus, boost the level of care at pharmacies across our state.

“And take pressure off of the doctors during season, it could reduce there already high patient load,” said DePaola.

The Senate bill was rejected in the legislature and a similar House bill was rejected as well.

Officials said another bill may be reintroduced in the upcoming legislative session this January.