OTC COVID-19 Test Prescribing Authority

Some pharmacies are wondering if they are allowed to continue prescribing OTC COVID-19 tests. The eleventh amendment to the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) was issued on May 12, 2023 and extends PREP Act coverage through December 31, 2024 to allow licensed pharmacists to order and administer COVID-19 countermeasures including COVID-19 vaccines, seasonal influenza vaccines, and COVID-19 tests.

Coverage for OTC COVID-19 tests varies by payer. See summary below:

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  • Medicare Part B coverage ceased as of May 12, 2023
  • Medicare Advantage plans may cover and pay for OTC COVID-19 tests as an added benefit
  • Medicaid coverage should continue through September 30, 2024
  • Commercial insurance coverage will vary; however, plans are not required to cover after May 11, 2023

PAAS Tips:

  • The eleventh amendment to PREP Act extends pharmacist prescribing authority through end of 2024
  • Point-of-sale edits should be relied upon to understand if OTC product is covered
  • Only dispense OTC COVID-19 tests upon patient request – do not autofill
  • Ensure you retain documentation of patient request using PAAS’ Attestation form

Eric Hartkopf, PharmD