Should only pharmacists lead state pharmacy boards?

September 5, 2014

That’s the question being asked by pharmacists throughout Ohio as a recent change in that state’s law allows the governor to appoint a pharmacy director with no experience in the field.

That’s the question being asked by pharmacists throughout Ohio as a recent change in that state’s law allows the governor to appoint a pharmacy director with no experience in the field.

Earlier this year, Gov. John Kasich appointed a new director of the state’s Board of Health who does not hold a medical degree. Then, according to the Dayton Daily News, he offered the job of directing the state pharmacy board to state Rep. Lynn Wachtmann, R-Napoleon, who turned it down.

Kasich was able to offer the job to Wachtmann because in June state legislators removed the requirement that the pharmacy board director be a licensed pharmacist. The last pharmacy director, Kyle Parker, stepped down this month.

“To us, as pharmacists, we strongly believe (the director) needs to be a pharmacist,” Ernie Boyd, spokesperson for the Ohio Pharmacy Association spokesman told the Dayton Daily News. “We feel that it’s a pretty important public position that requires a pretty specific knowledge base.”

 

Pharmacy board members who are appointed by the governor appoint the director of the board. A spokesman for Kasich said the governor supported the elimination of the requirement that the board director be a licensed pharmacist because the job does not pay enough ($128,900) to attract top pharmacists.

Pharmacists are not alone in objecting to the board being led by a non-pharmacist.

 “The bottom line is that somebody who is not a pharmacist doesn’t understand the practice of pharmacy,” Robert Weber, the administrator for pharmacy services at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, told the newspaper. “It would not be a positive for the executive director to not be a pharmacist.”

Added State Rep. Connie Pillich, D-Montgomery, who voted against the change: “Taxpayers expect and deserve highly skilled professionals in positions of power. With the rise of prescription painkiller abuse in our state, I would think we need that expertise and leadership at the pharmacy board now more than ever before.”