In many states across this nation, there is a 3-to-1 ratio of pharmacy technicians to pharmacists. This means that three technicians are supervised by one licensed pharmacist. While pharmacy technicians are allowed to fill prescriptions, pharmacists are the ones still responsible for checking their work, signing off on it, and counseling patients.
Most states in our nation require a 1-to-1, 2-to-1, 3-to-1, or 4-to-1 ratio of technicians to pharmacists. Now the state of Florida, for example, is attempting to increase its technician-to-pharmacist ratio with a bill that would allow retail pharmacies to have a 6-to-1 ratio. Not only would this bill allow for more technicians with less supervision by pharmacists, but it would also reduce oversight by the Florida Board of Pharmacy.
While there are some states that have no ratio requirements at all, most of those states require higher education requirements, national certification, passage of a state exam, and continuing education. However, Florida House Bill 671 and Senate Bill 818 would allow for the increase in the number of technicians, but does not require further education.
Pharmacists in Florida and across this nation are constantly being disciplined for medication errors, even in states with lower ratio requirements. Unfortunately, pharmacists personally commit errors or don’t catch errors made by technicians because of the following:
- Work process
- High volume
What Raising the Technician-to-Pharmacist Ratio Would Do
If ratio levels were raised to 6-to-1, more medication errors could result. Ultimately, this would put patients at higher risk of suffering health issues, serious side effects, and even death. Raising the ratios, especially without requiring technicians to have more education and training, puts pharmacists at an increased risk of pharmacy error due to supervising more minimally trained technicians.
Increased technician-to-pharmacist levels could increase the number of health and safety risks, such as:
- Medication errors: patients’ safety would be at higher risk because pharmacists would have a larger pool of people to supervise, which could increase pharmacy errors.
- Lack of patient counseling and education: pharmacists will have even less time to counsel patients on medication administration, which can put a patient at risk of suffering pharmacy malpractice.
If you have received the wrong medication or wrong dose of drugs and suffered, you should talk with a skilled pharmacy error attorney to discuss your legal options. Contact Kennedy Hodges, L.L.P. at 888-526-7616 for a free consultation and a FREE copy of our report, How to Make Pharmacies Pay for Injuries Caused by Medication Errors.