Magazine article Drug Topics

On the Hot Seat

Magazine article Drug Topics

On the Hot Seat

Article excerpt

California pharmacy board one of many under siege

The California pharmacy board may be pinned in the spotlight at the moment, but pharmacists in other states are also frustrated by escalating workloads, a tight job market, and rising medication errors that are putting their licenses on the line.

The current flash point in California is a pharmacy board proposal to institute tech-check-tech, which would allow inpatient technicians to check the work of other technicians. Believing that pharmacists-not techs-should check techs, Pharmacists Planning Service Inc. president Frederick Mayer has threatened a lawsuit against the board for dereliction of duty and conflict of interest (Drug Topics, Feb. 3). He contends that board members act to protect their employers' interests, not the public welfare. There's also speculation that a large drugstore chain may sue the board if it doesn't loosen technician regulations and allow a larger ratio of technicians to R.Ph.s.

With the flak flying last month, the California board sent the tech-check-tech proposal back to the informational stage to get input from all interested parties. The board actually favors a techcheck-tech waiver program with high quality standards, said member Marilyn Shreve.

A California deputy attorney general has reaffirmed that there is no conflict of interest for pharmacy board members, said Shreve. "The board has been sued so often, we don't worry about it anymore," she added.

Support for Mayer's war with the board was voiced by Ralph Vogel, president of the Guild for Professional Pharmacists, an independent union representing R.Ph.s in three states. "The California board is doing anything it can to avoid the problems," he said. "It's very frustrating. It may have to go to a lawsuit. We're thinking of asking all California pharmacists to send a letter to the governor asking that the board be forced to resign."

The pharmacy board "can't just go into a private business and regulate it," countered Shreve. "The board sees workplace issues revolving around errors. The solution is probably collaborative, with the board trying to influence behavior, not necessarily through regulations."

R.Ph.s in other states are growing restless with what they see as inaction by their own pharmacy boards. …

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