Florida May Be Opening Doors to Pharmacists from Other States

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NEWSBREAKS

MAJOR STORIES FOR PHARMACISTS AT DEADLINE

For many years, California and Florida have been the only two states that have refused pharmacists reciprocity ot their licenses. While there's talk of change in California (Drug Topics, April 16), Florida now appears to be swinging the door open. Officials are quick to say, however, that the proposed change in Florida is not reciprocity, but licensure by endorsement. There are subtle differences between the two. The statute provides only for licensure by endorsement, which means that there are conditions on the transfer of license. And it is not official yet.

On May 3,2001, a bill to permit licensure by endorsement cleared its final hurdle, passing in the Florida state senate by 38 to 1 and in the house by 118 to 0. It is now on the desk of Gov. Jeb Bush, and he is expected to sign it.

"It is not a true transfer of license, but it allows you to become licensed without taking the NAPLEX [North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination] again under certain circumstances," said John Taylor, executive director of the Florida Board of Pharmacy The basic provisions of the bill require that pharmacists applying for licensure by endorsement in Florida have:

* Passed the NAPLEX within the past 12 years

*Been in active practice two of the past five years, if licensed more than two years

*Completed a qualifying internship within the past two years, if licensed less than two years

*Submit evidence of 30 hours of continuing education in the two calendar years immediately preceding application, if licensed for more than two years

* Successfully completed the Florida version of the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE)

The bill will go into effect immediately upon the signature of the governor. However, the board of pharmacy will not be ready to accept applications for several months.

"The board will begin the process of implementing it by rule," said Taylor. It probably will be on the board meeting agenda for June or August. Then time will be allotted for challenges to the rules. "Realistically, I would expect it to be fall before we will be in a position to accept applications for licensure," he said, adding that it is a matter of fairness. "Qualified people should be able to come to Florida and practice pharmacy. …