Introduction: In 2021, the Community of Madrid intensified their fight against the pandemic by incorporating the community pharmacy network to its public health program for the early detection, surveillance, and control of Covid-19. Specifically, pharmacies participated in the performance of rapid antigen testing for the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection and provided the population with free self-testing kits. From the Official College of Pharmacy of Madrid (“Colegio Oficial de Farmacéuticos de Madrid”), a study was conducted to evaluate the professional involvement and role of community pharmacists, as well as the degree of information demanded by the public during the distribution of self-testing kits.
Methods: This was an observational, cross-sectional, prospective study that employed online surveys collected between May 4th and 17th 2022.
Results: 76.8 % of pharmacists offered technical information to approximately 58 % of users that came to retrieve their self-testing kits. 26 % of users returned for additional advice, and 1/3 of users asked for the test to be conducted in the pharmacy. The most frequent intervention (61 %) was providing information on test usage and interpretation. In most cases (56.7 %), pharmacists spent between 1-5 minutes in the distribution of self-testing kits, with a lower percentage (20.3 %) spending between 5-10 minutes. Notably, 98.3 % of pharmacists identified that this public health campaign altered their daily workflow, with 86 % considering that there should have been financial compensation for their involvement.
Conclusions: This study highlighted the crucial role that pharmacists played in the public health campaign against Covid-19. Moreover, it reflected the pharmacists’ opinions on their involvement in this novel role, separate from their traditional workflow, that ultimately contributed to improving population health.