Pharmacists in the US Can Now Provide Urgent Care Services: How to Find a Pharmacy Near You

Scripted (by Script Health)
6 min readAug 9, 2023


Amid a significant shortage of healthcare workers, seeking urgent care services for common conditions at your nearby pharmacy can help you save time and money.

A man visits his local pharmacy for urgent care.

by Dr. James Lott (PharmD., MPP), Co-Founder and CEO of Scripted (August 2023)

Pharmacists are no longer simply filling prescriptions. They now offer appointment-based services to evaluate and treat common illnesses, so you can get antibiotics, antivirals, and other medications without waiting weeks for a doctor’s appointment or getting costly bills from urgent care or the emergency room.

In recent years, pharmacists have expanded their service offerings to include providing urgent care services.

One report stated that 60% of urgent care and retail clinic visits were for upper respiratory infections, which a pharmacist can easily manage. The trends will likely continue in the upcoming years as pharmacists enhance their abilities to manage an expanded scope of health conditions.

What Urgent Care Services Can Pharmacists Provide?

Local pharmacies offer a variety of new services typically offered at urgent care, including:

  • Testing and issuing new prescriptions for minor illnesses. Pharmacists can diagnose and treat minor illnesses after performing the appropriate diagnostic tests for many upper respiratory conditions, such as strep throat, COVID-19, Influenza, sinus infections, and ear infections. After an assessment, the pharmacists can prescribe antibiotics or antivirals if a patient is eligible.
  • Emergency Refills: Pharmacists can issue a new emergency prescription refill for essential medications such as EpiPen (epinephrine) and (albuterol) rescue inhalers for asthma when you can't reach your doctor.
  • Women’s Health. A local pharmacy can assess for a urinary tract infection (UTI) based on symptoms and may issue a new prescription for eligible candidates, as well as birth control counseling and
  • Providing health screenings. Pharmacists can provide health screenings such as blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose checks. This can help patients detect or monitor health problems early and take steps to prevent them from getting worse. They can also assist in managing people with diagnosed chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, or other conditions to keep them healthy.
  • Sexual Health. Pharmacists can now provide sexual health services, such as issuing new prescriptions for birth control, erectile dysfunction medications (such as generic Viagra), and antibiotics for urinary tract infections. This expansion of sexual health access will make it easier for people to get the medications they need to stay healthy and happy.
  • Administering vaccines. Most people are aware of the popular vaccine services. During the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmacists administered over 300 million vaccines, according to the CDC. In addition to the COVID-19 vaccine, pharmacists can administer various other vaccines, including the flu, pneumonia, shingles, and many travel vaccines (yellow fever, typhoid, etc.). This can help patients get the necessary vaccines without having to make an appointment with a doctor.

For a list of all the services, your local pharmacy might offer near you, see a full list here.

Where can I get urgent care services at a pharmacy near me?

Many local pharmacies have announced the launch of these new services, including:

Some states are leading the way. It’s more common to see pharmacies in California, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Washington, and Wisconsin offer many new services.

For a complete list of pharmacies and services and to book appointments, the new healthcare startup Scripted can help find pharmacies near you that offer urgent and chronic care services at local pharmacies.

What has changed to allow pharmacists the ability to prescribe?

Filling a Physician Shortage. According to the American Medical Association, by 2034, the United States healthcare system will suffer a shortage of 124,000 physicians. Licensed healthcare providers will become harder to access, and with over 300,000 licensed pharmacists, they can help.

Laws are Changing. As of February 2023, the American Medical Association stated that were 60 bills introduced in federal and state legislation expanding the role of pharmacists. Many of these bills have since passed.

This means states are taking an active role in ensuring patients have access to care at community pharmacies.

Patients Want Convenient Care at Pharmacies. There’s a compelling story on youtube of a 31-year-old woman in California who had to wait four months to get an appointment with her doctor during peak allergy season for an EpiPen. She went to her local pharmacy instead and was relieved and surprised after getting a new prescription from her pharmacist in 15 minutes.

Heartwarming stories aside, there are several reasons why pharmacists are well-suited to provide urgent care and chronic care services. First, pharmacists have a deep understanding of medications and how they work. This knowledge is essential for diagnosing and treating patients with minor illnesses and injuries.

Second, pharmacists are trained to assess patient symptoms and make appropriate recommendations for care. This includes providing over-the-counter medications, prescribing medications, and referring patients to a doctor or other healthcare provider if necessary.

Third, pharmacists are accessible to patients seven days a week, 365 days a year. This makes them a convenient option for people who need urgent care but do not want to go to the emergency room.

How much do these urgent care services at pharmacies costs?

Pharmacy Urgent Care Services Are Affordable. Via Scripted, some pharmacists' visits start as low as $19. That’s exceedingly affordable, considering an ER visit can cost up to $2,000 for a simple visit. On average, traditional urgent care clinics' total charges are about $250 per visit.

A figure of Pharmacy based care at chain pharmacies (source: Trilliant Health)

A study by the American Pharmacists Association found that 70% of patients would prefer to see a pharmacist for minor illnesses and injuries. This is likely due to the convenience and affordability of pharmacy urgent care. Patients can typically see a pharmacist without an appointment, and the service cost is often lower than going to the emergency room or urgent care clinic.

In addition to being convenient and affordable, pharmacy urgent care is also effective. A study published in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association found that pharmacists could diagnose and treat patients with minor illnesses and injuries just as effectively as doctors.

Most services are cash-based, for now. Insurance isn’t entirely covering these services yet. It’s not out of the question that that could change in the next few years.

Technology is also making it easier for patients to find pharmacies that offer urgent care services. Companies, like Scripted are developing tools that allow patients to search for pharmacies and book appointments based on their location and services. This can be a helpful resource for patients looking for urgent care services nearby.

The future of urgent care is in your pharmacy. As the demand for healthcare continues to grow, pharmacists are well-positioned to fill this need.

Urgent care services at local pharmacies
Urgent care services by conditions, 2018–2023

With their training, expertise, and convenience, pharmacists can provide high-quality, affordable urgent care to patients in their communities.

With the expanding scope of practice for pharmacists and the help of technology, patients can now get the care they need when needed without having to wait in long lines or pay high prices.

(1) JB Power and Associates 2023 Pharmacy Survey —
(2) NASPA — Pharmacists Prescribing State By State —
(3) Experity Urgent Care Services Data —



Scripted (by Script Health)

Scripted is the first marketplace that connects patients in need of same-day care for common conditions with local in-person pharmacists that can prescribe.