Florida Flirts with License Reciprocity for Pharmacists

Article excerpt

Proposed legislation that would move Florida closer to pharmacist license reciprocity has stirred up a controversy in the Sunshine State, one of only two jurisdictions that do not honor licenses granted by other states.

The bill filed in the Florida house of delegates and the senate calls for pharmacist licensure by endorsement, which would eliminate the need for qualified applicants to retake the NAPLEX exam. Out-ofstate pharmacists seeking a Florida license would have to submit an application, including their NAPLEX scores. The file would be reviewed by the pharmacy board, which would decide whether the test scores were acceptable. Pharmacists who were licensed more than 15 years ago would not be eligible for licensure by endorsement. Pharmacists would also have to prove that they had been in practice for at least two out of the previous five years. Applicants would have to pay a fee of up to $100 and pay another fee to take the Florida pharmacy law exam.

Licensure by endorsement is not the same as the full reciprocity nearly all other states grant one another. Except for Florida and California, the states grant out-of-state pharmacists licenses without requiring them to cut through a lot of red tape and to retake the NAPLEX exam. The issue of license reciprocity came up at a recent workplace summit held by the California pharmacy board, which will conduct a similar forum later this month. The pharmacist shortage is on the board's table, but license reciprocity is not, said board executive officer Patricia Harris.

The Florida licensure bill has stirred up strong emotions among pharmacists around the state, said Michael Jackson, R.Ph., executive director of the Florida Pharmacy Association (FPhA). The association has reaffirmed its long-standing opposition to licensure by endorsement and last year voiced opposition to full reciprocity as well. …