Pharmacists set licensure transfer record ... again

May 22, 2006

For the seventh consecutive year, pharmacists requested a recordnumber of licensure transfers last year, according to the NationalAssociation of Boards of Pharmacy.

In 2005 a total of 7,489 licensure transfer requests were made through NABP's Electronic Licensure Transfer Program (ELTP), up from 7,292 in 2004. Although it's called licensure "transfer," it doesn't necessarily mean the pharmacists moved to another state; they may just want to be licensed to practice in more than one state. In fact, about 15% of the transfers were requests to practice pharmacy in two or more states in addition to the pharmacist's home state.

Staffing shortages, economic conditions, and population trends are among the reasons pharmacists decided to pull up stakes. However, another major factor in the increased transfer activity is that more state pharmacy boards are adopting regulations requiring Internet and mail-order pharmacists to have a license to practice within their jurisdictions if they serve patients residing there.

Arizona recorded the best net transfer gain, as 290 more licenses came into the state than transferred out. Texas was the liveliest hotbed of transfer activity, with a total of 762 requests. There were 437 requests to practice in the state but 325 pharmacists also wanted to transfer elsewhere.

Perhaps with an assist from Hurricane Katrina and her evil cousin Rita, Louisiana had a net loss of 13 pharmacist licenses last year. That compares with a net gain of 221 licenses in 2004, when 303 licenses transferred into the state and only 82 left.

Florida also slowed down last year as a destination of choice for pharmacists. In 2004, 514 pharmacists sought transfer into the Sunshine State and 143 wanted out, for a net gain of 371. But last year, the numbers dropped to 387 in and 256 out, for a net gain of 131.

Three Great Plains states-South Dakota, Kansas, and Oklahoma-all ran a licensure deficit last year, as did three states in the Rust Belt: Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts also came out behind last year. And Nevada, once a licensure transfer hot spot, has cooled somewhat, posting a net loss of 50 licenses.

The licensure transfer process was streamlined last year when NABP launched the ELTP, allowing pharmacists to go to its Web site to download an application. Previously, NABP had provided printed applications to boards of pharmacy, which then mailed them out to pharmacists seeking transfers.