California R.Ph.S Vow to Fight Tech Regulation

Article excerpt

Some pharmacists are upset over an emergency regulation proposed by the California pharmacy board allowing technician trainees to work behind the counter.

The emergency regulation stipulates that technician trainees can work in the pharmacy under the supervision of a pharmacist; it does not state either a ratio of pharmacist to trainee or a length of time that training can take place. The emergency regulation formulated in private by a two-member committee was a fix-it move to get the board out of a regulatory jam. Legislation passed last year requires that pharmacy techs complete 120 hours of on-the-job training. The problem was that tech trainees were not legally allowed to work in a pharmacy.

Patricia Harris, executive officer of the California pharmacy board, said the board will have its rule-making hearing in January. Pharmacists who are dissatisfied with the regulation can bring up their concerns at that time.

The new regulation is seriously flawed because it doesn't set an R.Ph.-tech trainee ratio or a time limit for completing the training, said Carlo Michelotti, CEO, California Pharmacists Association. "We have no problem with a pharmacist supervising a technician trainee for a specified amount of time," he said. "The worst case scenario would be one pharmacist supervising 50 technician trainees for the next 20 years until they retire. We're going to fall on our sword over this one."

Local 770 of the United Food & Commercial Workers union is "troubled by the emergency reg," said Abe Grundstein, director of collective bargaining, research, and education. In addition to supervising a technician and other ancillary personnel, a pharmacist could supervise an "unlimited number of technician trainees," he said. …