California pharm techs to take on more responsibility under new law

September 29, 2014

A new California law will free up hospital pharmacists in the state to spend more time with patients and collaborate with other healthcare providers.

A new California law will free up hospital pharmacists in the state to spend more time with patients and collaborate with other healthcare providers.

S.B. 1039, which was signed into law in mid-September, allows pharmacy technicians in healthcare facilities to package emergency supplies, seal emergency containers, and perform monthly checks of drug supplies, under the supervision of a pharmacist. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2015.

The law also authorizes an intern pharmacist to inspect the drugs maintained in a licensed general acute care hospital at least once a month, pursuant to policies and procedures of the hospital.

The California Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists (CSHP) and the California Pharmacists Association (CPhA) pushed for passage of the bill, signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in mid-September.*

 

“As we are pushing pharmacists to get more involved in patient care, they should be doing the work that requires the attention of pharmacists and should not be doing the work that can be safely done by a technician,” said Brian Warren, vice president of the Center for Advocacy at the CPhA.

“I'm looking forward to seeing the new law in action,” wrote Dawn Benton, executive vice president and CEO of CSHP in the association’s September AdvocacySource. The important legislation updates outdated Title 22 regulations and improves hospital pharmacy efficiency, she added.

In addition to the pharmacy technician provision, the law requires a licensed general acute care hospital or an acute psychiatric hospital “to adopt policies and procedures regarding the responsibility for ensuring proper methods of repackaging and labeling of bulk cleaning agents, solvents, chemicals, and nondrug hazardous substances used throughout the hospital and would specify that the hospital is not required to consult a pharmacist regarding the repackaging and labeling of those substances, except for areas where sterile compounding is performed,” the law states. 

* Update: While the California Society of Health-System Pharmacists (CSHP) and the California Pharmacists Association (CPhA) both pushed for passage of the bill, Drug Topics would like to clarify that CSHP was the only sponsor of the bill, which was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in mid-September.