Pharmacy technicians must have a deep understanding of pharmacy law and regulations. This is required not only for passing the PTCE or the ExCPT certification exam, but also for developing competency in running a pharmacy business.
Following are 3 salient provisions of these laws and regulations, bearing in mind, however, that there are minor state-to-state variations. We will follow the discussion by stating a few things about ethical standards of practice for technicians.
Price Posting for Drugs
The local government sends a poster suitable for display to all pharmacies under its jurisdiction. The poster contains the list of the 100 most commonly-used prescription drugs. Space is provided for current prices (to be filled in by the pharmacy). A designated space is also provided where the pharmacys convenience and professional services should be indicated.
The poster also contains spaces reserved for indicating the pharmacys name and address. A statement stating that a pharmacy is able to give less expensive but therapeutically-equivalent substitutes to the prescription drugs prescribed by the consumers physician is also written. The poster also states that consumers have the right to know the exact prices of prescription drugs before filling is done.
Provisions on dispensing therapeutically-equivalent drugs are particularly consumer-protective. If the prescription indicates the generic name, the pharmacist must give the patient the brand that is least expensive. Pharmacists have the power to exercise professional judgment when choosing the drug brand to dispense, but there are limits.
According to law, a pharmacist is prohibited from dispense a therapeutically-equivalent drug if the customer prefers using the one stated in the prescription. If the prescribing physician wrote a special notation such as D.A.W (meaning dispense as written) on the prescription, any additional notations (made by the pharmacist) will not be acceptable. The prescribed drug indicated should be given to the customer.
Poison Prevention Packaging
This is the law that protects children from accidental poisoning. The law requires that packages of legend drugs and OTC drugs should be child-resistant. A child-resistant packaging means that it can be opened by at least 90% of adults but cant be opened by 80% of children under 5.
Exceptions to the law include conditions where the drug prescriber ordered the dispensing of the product in a non-compliant container and cases where the customer specifically requested the use of such kind of container.
Ethical Standards for Pharmacy Technicians A Quick Look
The principles governing the code of ethics for pharmacy technicians are based on the principles of professional conduct for pharmacists
* A pharmacy technicians foremost consideration is the safety and well-being of patients and customers.
* A technician values and respects the abilities of his colleagues and other health practitioners.
* A technician respects the confidentially of patients records and will only disclose relevant information with appropriate authorization.
* A technician does not participate in the dispensing or distribution of medical devices or medications that fail to meet the standards set by law or may harm end-users.
Not everything can be covered in this short discussion. Visit your states Board of Pharmacy for additional assistance. You can also access the website of the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) for questions you may have as regards the certification exam.