Because Florida has the third highest amount of prescriptions filled at pharmacies in this nation, it is important that there are enough pharmacists on staff at every Walgreens pharmacy and at all pharmacies throughout the Sunshine State. However, Walgreens, CVS and other major pharmacy companies are behind a bill that would allow Florida pharmacists to oversee six times as many pharmacy technicians as they used to.
Last year, the bill already passed the full House and is on its way in the Legislature this year. In fact, the bill just passed by a vote of 8-to-4 in its first of two scheduled House committees. Representative Joe Saunders (D-Orlando) told the media that “He voted no because he thinks patient safety could suffer for the sake of profit.” Current law allows for one pharmacist to oversee one pharmacy tech at a time; however, there are many pharmacies that have petitioned the state Board of Pharmacy to allow their pharmacists to oversee up to three techs. Sadly, the new law would allow up to six techs per one pharmacist with no approval needed from the Board.
The concern the Florida Pharmacy Association and other groups have is that fewer pharmacists and more technicians could lead to more pharmacy mistakes. This means that more technicians will be filling prescriptions and doing things that pharmacists—who have far more years of training—should be doing.
The Reason for the Bill?
Walgreens and other major pharmacies have become very powerful in supporting this bill. They know that it will be cheaper for them to hire more technicians than have to pay pharmacists the higher amounts that could be up to six figures.
As it stands with the current law, Florida pharmacies like Walgreens and others already make mistakes with patients’ prescriptions, such as:
- Giving patients the wrong medication
- Filling the wrong dosage
- Switching customers’ medications
- Placing the wrong instructions on the bottle
- Mixing different strengths of pills
- Making label mistakes
Unfortunately, there are hundreds of thousands of prescription mishaps that occur annually. If this new bill passes, customers of Florida pharmacies would be more vulnerable to being a victim of a pharmacy error. Pharmacy techs don’t have as much training as pharmacists, but with this new law they will be allowed to do almost everything a pharmacist does. Because only one pharmacist will be signing off on prescriptions that six techs have filled, there could be more room for error.
To minimize your risk of being a victim of a pharmacy mishap next time you visit your local Walgreens pharmacy, we encourage you to seek a consultation with a pharmacist when picking up your prescriptions. By doing this, a pharmacist will be spending more time reviewing your medication and could catch an error if one has occurred. Please share this article on Facebook so that your friends and family are aware of this matter and know the importance of pharmacy consultations.