Lawmakers Disagree On Pharmacy Technician Oversight Limits

Mar 27, 2014

Credit e-Magine Art

Florida pharmacies are pushing a bill to increase the amount of support staff a registered pharmacist can legally oversee, but deciding where to draw that line is presenting challenges in the statehouse.

Rep. Mike La Rosa (R-St.Cloud) has proposed the bill allowing registered pharmacists to oversee up to six technicians.  The current limit is three. 

The change has drawn support from large pharmacy companies, but resistance from industry groups. So La Rosa has authored an amendment suggesting the Florida Board of Pharmacy hold discretion over any staff increases.

“It also provides an automatic board approval of licensed pharmacists supervising more than one pharmacy technician in the operations of mail order and centralized fill locations,” La Rosa said.

This change would allow warehouse pharmaceutical distributors to avoid the already increased staff limitations retailers would face.  Florida Society of Health System Pharmacists lawyer Larry Gonzalez says this would undercut pharmacy regulators.

“What the amendment essentially does, is it gives with one hand the authority to the board but it takes it back away with the other,” Gonzalez said. “Simply giving them the authority to set guidelines, removes their discretion to look at each case on an individual basis.”

Rep. Jimmy Patronis (R-Panama City) opposed the move and suggested a further amendment extending the six person cap to all situations.  Patronis shared a constituent’s letter in his closing statements.

“On a side note the increased ratio has no effect on my business other than a positive one.  My moral compass will not allow me to be selfish here, the risk is too great.  That closing sentence right there was why I filed the amendment,” Patronis said.

Patronis’s amendment ultimately failed, but the argument seems far from settled.  Multiple lawmakers say any fixed cap seems arbitrary.  They’d rather defer to the Board of Pharmacy to determine limits.  La Rosa’s bill, along with his amendment, now faces a hearing on the floor of the House.