Survey Shows Broad Support Among Americans For Pharmacy Technician Certification

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Americans have strong misperceptions about the required qualifications of the people helping pharmacists prepare prescriptions in pharmacies.

The poll results, released today at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists' (ASHP) Midyear Clinical Meeting, show that the vast majority of Americans believe that all pharmacy technicians are required to be trained and certified, when in reality, these regulations vary from state to state.

"This data shows without a doubt that American consumers -- in fact, 91% of those surveyed -- support strong regulations across the country to protect patient safety by requiring that pharmacy technicians be trainedand certified," said Melissa Murer Corrigan, RPh, Executive Director and CEO of PTCB. "Consumers recognize how important it is to have a standard that they can rely on at their pharmacy, in hospitals, and everywhere that medication is dispensed."

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The survey, which was administered by Opinion Research Corporation on behalf of PTCB, showed that consumers have high expectations for qualifications of the people who help pharmacists prepare prescriptions. Infact, 45% of those surveyed incorrectly thought that people without formal training were not allowed to help pharmacists prepare prescriptions, and a majority, 58% thought that only licensed pharmacists are involved in dispensing drug prescriptions.

Pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists in dispensing medications. The pharmacy technician is accountable to the supervising pharmacist who is legally responsible through state licensure for the care and safety of patients served by the pharmacy.

"This study shows that consumers expect their state lawmakers to protect them by passing and enforcing strong regulations that require a standard of competence for pharmacy technicians," said Gay Dodson, R.Ph., Executive Director, Texas State Board of Pharmacy. "In Texas, the Legislature and State Board of Pharmacy were the first to require certification of pharmacy technicians as a pre-requisite to registration. This is an important first step for consumer protection and patient safety."

In fact, most respondents in the poll assumed that requirements are already in place across the country. Only 13% of respondents correctly recognized that there are no nationwide requirements for the training and certification of pharmacy technicians.

"It is time to live up to what consumers expect," said Douglas J. Scheckelhoff, R.Ph., M.S., FASHP, Vice President, Professional Development, ASHP. "We know patients deserve a high standard of safety when it comes to how their prescription medications are dispensed." "Now we know it is what they expect, as well."

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