Magazine article Drug Topics

Community, Hospital R.Ph.S Clash over Tech Certification

Magazine article Drug Topics

Community, Hospital R.Ph.S Clash over Tech Certification

Article excerpt

Community and institutional pharmacists, already at loggerheads over such issues as differential pricing, are butting heads over a new initiative. At issue is the creation of a voluntary national certification exam for pharmacy technicians in all practice settings.

Backing this effort are the American Pharmaceutical Association, ASHP, the Michigan Pharmacists Association, and the Illinois Council of Hospital Pharmacists. Opposed are NARD and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. All sides made their positions known at an invitational meeting at ASHP's midyear convention in Atlanta last month.

According to the four groups that are supporting the program, the national exam will be based on the existing Illinois and Michigan exams as well as on findings from the Scope of Pharmacy Practice Project. That project, a national analysis of pharmacist and technician tasks, has just been completed.

Exam due in '95: Expected to be up and running in 1995, the national exam will replace the Illinois and Michigan exams, which are being given in many states now. Proponents believe that a single national exam would result in a more consistent approach, yielding quality technicians for employers. Only a national exam will be developed, not the educational materials that go with it.

Opponents denounce the program for several reasons. Explained Laura Cranston, v.p.-health-care programs at NACDS, community pharmacists want technicians to perform only nonjudgmental tasks. And yet the technician manual used by the Michigan group is highly clinical and goes well beyond what's needed for such personnel.

Nobody is arguing that pharmacists need qualified technicians who can assist them, as the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 has accentuated, Cranston acknowledged. But many independents and chains already have their own adequate training programs for technicians, she told Drug Topics in a follow-up interview. …

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