Magazine article Drug Topics

A Place in the Sun

Magazine article Drug Topics

A Place in the Sun

Article excerpt

Pharmacy technicians, too, are demanding recognition

Certification? Registration? Licensing? Status quo? What does the future hold for the pharmacy technician in the changing world of pharmacy practice?

The 220 techs attending the recent American Association of Pharmacy Technicians' (MPT) annual meeting, held in Bloomington, Minn., were so eager to discuss the possibilities and the potentials that they kept Carmen Catizone, executive director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, for another half-hour after his scheduled hour-long presentation.

Catizone had opted for an interactive format, inviting questions and comments from the audience instead of making a formal address, because "NABP is concerned with gathering information on the subject of regulating pharmacy technicians, in order to make valid recommendations to state boards of pharmacy."

Catizone urged techs to make their opinions known to their state boards, reminding them that "information input can bring change."

At present, NABP is advocating that state boards implement a registration system for technicians, Catizone told the group. Under the proposed system, the tech would register with the state board of pharmacy, pay a small fee, and submit proof of completion of a site-specific training program. "It's a first step in defining the role of the technician," giving it the status it deserves and providing a system for identifying and disciplining techs who commit unethical or illegal acts, he said.

"More than three years ago, NABP launched an effort to advise states to officially recognize technicians and delineate the roles of the pharmacist and the technician in the changing practice environment," said Catizone.

Resolution No. 89-15-93 states: "Whereas, there exists a wide variety of terms utilized to describe those personnel who assist pharmacists in the practice of pharmacy; and Whereas, a uniformly recognized term to describe those personnel would be of benefit to State Boards of Pharmacy and to the public; Therefore, be it resolved that the term 'pharmacy technician' be universally recognized as the designation of personnel who assist the pharmacist in the practice of pharmacy, who work under the personal and direct supervision of a pharmacist, and who are registered with the State Board of Pharmacy as defined in the Model State Pharmacy Act and Model Rules of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy."

In 1995, NABP reaffirmed its 1993 position and urged state boards to adopt regulations that require registration of pharmacy technicians and, additionally, that the boards require "initial and ongoing training that is site-specific for their practice setting." NABP has no jurisdiction over state boards. It only recommends procedures and programs, but the recommendations are usually accepted. Two such examples are NABPLEX, the national licensure examination, which is used by every board of pharmacy in the nation except California, and the Model Practice Act, also adopted by most states.

In presenting the various options for regulation of pharmacy technicians, Catizone described registration as "a compromise that's acceptable to critics and advocates who find licensing 'heresy' and see problems with certification-among them, the areas that certification tests cover."

NABP is among those pondering whether there should be a national certification test, perhaps modeled after the one proposed by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. …

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