New pharmacy technician law championed by Purdue to take effect

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Those planning to become pharmacy technicians in Indiana must begin meeting new requirements under a law that goes into effect Tuesday (July 1).

The law, championed by Purdue University College of Pharmacy’s Center for Medication Safety Advancement, creates minimum core competencies for licensure as a pharmacy technician.

“The changes will improve patient safety, reduce medication errors and better reflect the value of pharmacy technicians as members of a team of healthcare providers,” said John Hertig, the associate director of Purdue’s Center for Medication Safety who helped draft the bill and testified on its behalf. “Previously there was a limited set criteria used by the board to approve certification programs and there was inherent variability in the skills of pharmacy technicians.”

There are three paths to becoming a pharmacy technician in Indiana: an individual can pass a national certification exam, graduate from a pharmacy technician program or complete onsite training sponsored by a pharmacy.

The variation in standards arose mostly within the sponsored training path because there was not a clear standard set of criteria used by the Indiana Board of Pharmacy to approve these programs, Hertig said.

In addition to establishing training standards, the law includes a high school education or equivalency requirement, he said.

“Pharmacy technician work is increasingly complex, and a core level of education and training is necessary to ensure public health and safety,” said Hertig, who also is the current president of the Indiana Society of Health-System Pharmacists. “The law also changes the type of documentation received from certificate to license. This better reflects the expectations we have of someone who will help prepare and dispense medication and the importance of this occupation.”

Hertig and a team of pharmacists within Purdue’s Center for Medication Safety Advancement worked with state Sen. Ron Grooms, R-Jeffersonville, to draft and pass the bill.

“Hoosiers depend on first-rate pharmacy services, and raising the bar for technicians will ensure high-quality care and promote a high-skilled workforce,” Grooms said.

The law will benefit both those who receive care and practicing professionals who administer it, he said.

The education requirement will take effect Tuesday (July 1) and the core competencies requirements will take effect July 1, 2015. Those who have already been certified as a pharmacy technician and who are in good standing will be exempt from the requirements and considered licensed, according to the law.

The faculty and staff of the Purdue University College of Pharmacy's Center for Medication Safety Advancement work with health professionals, students, and lawmakers to improve medication use systems.

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