Pharmacies preparing to provide COVID-19 testing

Posted at 6:04 PM, Apr 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-27 18:04:36-04

TOWN OF TOWAWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) — Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to test 40,000 New Yorkers every day. He's looking to local pharmacies for help.

"We want to do this," said Donald Arthur, Pharmacist and Owner of Brighton-Eggert Pharmacy in the Town of Tonawanda. "We think we're the right people to do this because of our experience in healthcare and because of our access.

Arthur serves 300-400 patients daily and is ready to take on the challenge. Up until recently, Pharmacists were not allowed to do any testing under New York State law. That changed on April 25, when the Governor enacted an executive order giving Pharmacists this ability.

"It's something we've been preparing for, but we didn't think it was going to happen this quickly," said Arthur.

Before he starts testing at Brighton-Eggert and Black Rock Pharmacy in Buffalo, Arthur has a few questions. He does not know how much tests will cost, if they're covered by insurance, how this will be facilitated nor when. He's looking for guidance from the State.

While Arthur is prepared to make adjustments, Wellness Park Pharmacy in Niagara Falls says it is not worth the risk.

"If anyone here were to get infected...we wouldn't be able to serve our patients because there's only a couple of us. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like we would be able to do it at all," said Chelsea Fontana, Pharmacy Tech at Wellness Park.

Arthur still has many questions and needs equipment in order to get started, but he is remaining hopeful and believes he could get things started by next week.