Magazine article Drug Topics

Chain Drugstores Seek Regulatory Relief from Pharmacy Boards

Magazine article Drug Topics

Chain Drugstores Seek Regulatory Relief from Pharmacy Boards

Article excerpt

Peering over their shoulders at a looming tidal wave of nearly three billion prescriptions this year, chain drugstore executives are asking pharmacy boards for regulatory relief so they can use more technicians and technology Chain drugstores have to deal with 50 different sets of pharmacy regulations, many of which are outmoded, said Kurt Proctor, senior v.p., pharmacy policy and operations, National Association of Chain Drug Stores. And chains want some changes so they can take advantage of technicians and technology to get the job done on the dispensing side at a time when Rx volume is going ballistic and R.Ph.s are becoming scarce.

Most pharmacy boards have already visited the issue of tech-pharmacist ratios in recent years. For example, between June 1997 and June 1998, 23 boards increased the number of techs an R.Ph. can supervise, according to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy's latest Survey of Pharmacy Law. Most of those boards upped their ratio to two techs per pharmacist from one to one. In addition, there is no specific tech-to-RPh. ratio in another 13 states. The states with the highest specified ratio-four techs per R.Ph.-are Indiana and West Virginia. Florida and Maine permit three techs per pharmacist. Only 11 state boards still require a ratio of one pharmacist to one technician.

While pharmacy boards have responded by upping tech-R.Ph. ratios, they also want more direct pharmacist involvement with patients, said Carmen Catizone, NABP executive director. "The argument has been that we need to relax the tech regulations so pharmacists can do more; now we need to assure that they do more. When discussions began, the issue was relaxing the ratio so that pharmacists can do more pharmaceutical care. But suddenly, the shortage of pharmacists and prescription volume hit, and people are saying that we need the freedom for techs to do more dispensing to deal with the shortage. That is a new public health issue the boards are being asked to deal with. Of course, if there aren't enough pharmacists or techs working, pharmacy boards have to look at that issue and make sure the public is covered."

If chains had their way, there would be no techR.Ph. ratios. However, in the real world, anything less than four to one is too restrictive to allow chains to employ personnel and technology to handle Rx volume and move R.Ph.s out of dispensing into pharmaceutical care, said Proctor. "Restrictive regulations tie the hands of pharmacists and tie them to dispensing," he said. "We strongly feel that most of pharmacy is not stepping up to the reality of three billion prescriptions this year. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.