“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”B. Franklin
On April 9, 2019 my colleagues and I from the Pennsylvania Society of Health System Pharmacists (PSHP) will be attending a meeting with Pennsylvania State Representative Tony DeLuca. Representative DeLuca, along with 12 other co-sponsors, have sponsored House Bill 770 into the General Assembly of Pennsylvania.
This bill, when passed and signed into legislation, will amend the Pharmacy Act to “further provide for definitions; and providing for pharmacy technician and pharmacy technician registration, qualifications and supervision”. Pennsylvania is currently one of only four states that do not provide Board of Pharmacy oversight of pharmacy technicians through registration or licensure.
In 2006, Ohio was one of those states without any oversight of pharmacy technicians. In February of that year, a tragic error committed by a pharmacy technician and not caught by a pharmacist resulted in the death of 2-year-old Emily Jerry. Once Emily’s dad, Chris, understood the cause of Emily’s death, he took it upon himself to change the law in Ohio. Emily’s Law was passed in December 2008 and went into effect on April 8, 2009.
As with any change in law and/or regulations, there are voices on both sides of the argument. House Bill 770 is no exception. On one hand, it seems so logical. Why would you not want to regulate and demand standards of practice for individuals who prepare medications? On the other hand, there are economic issues that come with regulations and competency.
The answer, in my opinion lies with Ben Franklin. Prevention in healthcare typically leads to a better quality of life and can at the same time provide cost savings for patients and providers alike. It’s why we do things like vaccinate and perform cancer screenings. There are so many benefits to pharmacy technician training, but the most important one is that trained, competent, and reliable techs can drastically reduce any facility’s overall medication error rate.
When Pennsylvania adopts House Bill 770, my home state will take a step forward to prevent a tragedy like Emily’s from ever happening again. This makes Emily’s short time on this earth all the more meaningful and it is absolutely worth the continued fight!
Pennsylvania residents please call or write your representatives and ask them to support this bill!
About the bill:
Who is my Pennsylvania Legislator?:
Photo Credit: Governor Tom Wolf, The Pennsylvania State Capitol in Fall, November 4, 2015, Harrisburg, PA used under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) source: https://flic.kr/p/AH98zR