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Proposal would allow Florida pharmacists to test for and treat the flu, strep

Posted at 4:29 PM, Nov 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-19 19:13:02-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — What if, in the addition to getting your flu shot at your local pharmacy, you could also get tested for the flu? That proposal is making its way through the state Legislature.

If the proposal becomes law, pharmacists could test for and treat the flu. But some doctors say that depending on what your symptoms are, you may need more than a flu test to determine the best treatment.

If you ask most people, they've either gotten the flu shot or are thinking about getting it.

"This is flu season and everybody is trying to get a jump on it. Nobody wants to get sick," said Allen Rutland, Owner of Green's Pharmacy of Palm Beach.

Rutland supports a proposal to allow pharmacists to test for the flu and strep, rather than a patient going to a doctor for the test. He's already looked at the machine that can test for it at the last trade show he visited.

"They were explaining it. They told us how much the machine costs, what it costs to process and it's fast. You’re talking minutes," said Rutland.

If the bill becomes law, there would still be a protocol pharmacists would have to follow like contacting your primary physician if you test positive for the flu or strep. Dr. Ryan Schroeder says that's necessary because the test results don't always dictate the treatment.

"If they have any underlying lung disease things like asthma, COPD, they can flare quire dramatically. If you’re dealing with the flu and Tamiflu, by itself it does not address those problems," said Dr. Schroder.

WPTV reached out to major pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens. Walgreens provided this statement:

"We’re supportive of measures that expand the important role of the pharmacist and bring greater health care access to the communities we serve."

If the proposal becomes law, pharmacists would have to become certified to test for the flu and strep.