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State Legislative Updates

HB770:  Pharmacy Technician Registration and Training

Click to Review Bill and History
Primary Sponsor: Rep. Anthony DeLuca (R-32)
House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda by Rep. DeLuca: Click HERE

Current Status: Referred to House Licensure Committee on March 11, 2019: Approved by committee on May 8. Approved by House on May 15. Referred to Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee; Chair Senator Tomlinson.
 
Key Provisions of Bill

  • Pharmacy Technicians will be registered by the PA Board of Pharmacy (SBOP)
    • A fee will be established for initial registration and renewal
    • Technicians will complete a criminal background check at the time of initial registration
  • New pharmacy technicians will be required to successfully complete an SBOP approved training programs based on regulations to be developed by the SBOP
    • Those working as pharmacy technicians in a licensed pharmacy for more than a year will not be required to complete the training program (they will be “grandfathered” as a registered pharmacy technicians)
  • Those training as pharmacy technicians will be designated as a trainee and will work under a permit until they have completed the training program and become registered with the SBOP
  • Pharmacy technicians are required to work under the direct and immediate supervisor of a licensed pharmacist. The bill states that "Direct and immediate personal supervision" means:
(i)  Review by the pharmacist of the prescription or drug order prior to dispensing.
(ii)  Verification by the pharmacist of the final product.
(iii)  Immediate availability of the pharmacist on the premises to direct the work of the supervised individual and to respond to questions or problems.
  • Applicants can be denied and a registration can be revoked based on criminal convictions and other criteria defined in the Act.

 
PSHP supports because:

  • Pennsylvania is one of only 3 states (per the Emily Jerry Foundation) that do not require registration or licensure and/or certification (usually PTCB) of pharmacy technicians.
  • When SBOP investigators investigate cases of drug diversion involving pharmacy techs, they have no legal authority to take action. Many pharmacy owners elect to fire these technicians instead of filing criminal charges. They then seek employment in other pharmacies.
  • Pharmacy technicians playing an increasingly important role in supporting pharmacists in the safe and timely preparation and dispensing of medications in all practice settings.
  • In hospitals and health systems the majority of compounded intravenous medications are prepared by pharmacy technicians. Most other medications dispensed with the support of information systems and technology involve participation by pharmacy technicians.
  • The growing complexity of medications and medication systems and related use of technology requires foundational education and training of pharmacy technicians to assure the accuracy of medication preparation and to minimize the risk of errors.
  • Actions by the SBOP to deny or revoke a technician’s registration will reduce the risk of hiring individuals with problematic work backgrounds.
  • ASHP has set a goal for each state to register or license pharmacy technicians as a key patient safety mandate.
  • HB 770 as proposed also has the support of PPA and PACDS.

HB770: Pharmacy Technicians:  Has been passed by the House and now resides in Senator Tomlinson’s “Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure” Committee.  A small group of interested stakeholders from across the state are meeting Monday, February 24, 2020, to work through the issues and try to move this out of committee on to the floor for vote this session.  Stay tuned for more information on this very important issue for Pennsylvania, as we are one of only three states left with no control over our pharmacy technicians across the country. 

 

Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substance (EPCS)

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is going live with the mandatory implementation of electronic prescribing of controlled substances (Schedule II – V) effective October 24, 2019. Per Act 96 (passed into law in Oct of 2018), all practitioners must comply by electronically sending prescriptions for controlled substances directly to pharmacies.  There are exceptions for a patient, for example patients enrolled in a hospice program or residing in a nursing home or residential health care facility, periods of unplanned technology down time.  There is also ability for practitioners to apply for a waiver for delayed implementation, such as prescribers without an electronic medical record.    The Department of Health’s website (which was just update in Sept 2019) is a good source of specifics.  Additionally, an FAQ from the commonwealth is attached.  

The Board of Pharmacy is making it clear that pharmacists are not the regulators, and cannot deny filling a controlled substance to patients based solely to the presentation of a paper prescription.  It is expected for pharmacists to continue to scrutinize paper prescriptions for fraud, and act accordingly if fraud is suspected.  It is not expected for pharmacists to report prescriber or to request information as to if a prescriber has a waiver. 

The Department of Health intends to audit practitioners with administrative penalties of $100 per violation for the first – 10th violations and moving up to $250 per violation thereafter with a max of $5,000 per year.  However, this shall not be reported by the DOH to the practitioner’s appropriate licensing board and shall not be considered disciplinary action.

Department of Health Website on Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substance (EPCS)

 

Other Legislation that PSHP is Monitoring 

Buprenorphine Bill – SB675.  We believe Senators who supported this bill will now note against it, as it will reduce the number of providers prescribing appropriate opioid alternative therapy, and can cause patient harm with medication delays.  We are told at this point, it most likely will not pass and/or the Governor would veto it, if it reached his desk.

Fentanyl Bill – SB569
.  PSHP has worked with Senate staff to develop amending language to support continued use of fentanyl injection by our ED Providers and paramedics without chart documentation justifying use for each patient.  This was not meant to imply supporting this bill; however should it proceed, we want to ensure reasonable standards are in place should the bill move from the Senate to the House.

PBM-HB941 - Advanced Practitioners (NPs and PAs) providing Pharmacy Services.  This bill’s language gives advanced practitioners the ability to be paid for providing pharmacy services (most likely meaning ”dispensing”).  PSHP will support amended language if PAA agrees this is a priority.  We would support amending language that would require patients be informed that they have the right (or "may choose") to have their medication filled by their community pharmacy provider.

SB 25: Independent practice by nurse practitioners. This bill has passed the Senate and is now in the House Health Committee. The bill would allow nurse practitioners to practice independently without a collaborative practice agreement with a physician. The bill provides for creation of a formulary for NP prescribing for each nurse specialty area being proposed. The current nurse practice act allows NPs to dispense (consistent with requirements in the medical practice act). PSHP is concerned about the conflict of interest of both prescribing and dispensing a medication, the lack of any requirements for packaging, labeling, security, record keeping, etc. related to dispensing and the lack of a mandate that this responsibility cannot be delegated to a non-authorized employee without immediate supervision by the NP. A possible amendment has been discussed with PPA. 


Updated 04-01-2020
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