pharmacy technicians

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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.

The nation’s health care delivery system is undergoing major changes, and the lines between what different healthcare providers do is beginning to blur. That’s the backdrop for fights between doctors, nurses and pharmacists, and those fights have become an annual occurrence at Florida’s Capitol, as each group tries to increase or maintain its scope-of-practice.

To put it plainly, these are turf battles. At the center is this debate: access, versus quality. 

A bill the House passed on Wednesday would increase the number of pharmacy technicians each pharmacist can supervise. Critics of the bill say it’s putting corporate profits ahead of patient safety.

Pharmacists are ultimately responsible for signing off on all medication orders, whether they personally fill them or a trained pharmacy technician fills them under their supervision. Currently, pharmacies can petition the State Board of Pharmacy to have each pharmacist supervise up to three technicians. But the bill would allow up to six techs per pharmacist without board approval.