4 Tips to Stay Up-to-Date With Pharmacy Laws

JANUARY 24, 2018
Pharmacists not only have a great responsibility to stay current with new medications, but also with the laws governing the profession. In fact, the Oath of the Pharmacist states “I will accept the lifelong obligation to improve my professional knowledge and competence.”1 It can be difficult to stay current with the time constraints and pressures of life as a pharmacist. Therefore, easy and concise tips are necessary to navigate new pharmacy laws.
Here are 4 tips to stay up-to-date with pharmacy laws:

 
Complete pharmacy law continuing education (CE) programs.
Many live and online programs offer pharmacy law CE.  In fact, it is even a requirement in some states.  Florida pharmacists are required to complete a 2 hour Validation of Prescriptions for Controlled Substances course for license renewal each biennium. I recently attended a live CE program that included this course, and it was very informative. A former board of pharmacy member discussed the state prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP), state and federal controlled substance laws, and steps for determining whether a prescription has been issued for a legitimate medical purpose.
 
Review your state board of pharmacy website for updates.
Check out your state board of pharmacy website for pharmacy law updates. Each board of pharmacy maintains the laws and regulations for the state. In fact, some states require that you maintain a print or electronic copy of the updated laws at your pharmacy practice site. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy website is a nice one-stop-shop that contains links to the state board of pharmacy websites for easy access.2  Some states also have newsletters with pharmacy law updates.
 
Start monthly pharmacy law updates at your practice site.
Work with your pharmacy team to establish monthly law updates. This is a great way to stay up-to-date with new and current state and federal pharmacy laws. If you have pharmacy rotation students, then definitely involve them in this educational activity. Pharmacy team members can take turns each month presenting a new or existing pharmacy law. The presentation can be short (about 5-10 minutes) and can include how this will affect the practice site. Also, the topic can include pharmacy law ethical questions that have come up in daily practice regarding dispensing controlled substance prescriptions. State PDMP laws can also be included during the discussion. The Drug Enforcement Administration website can be utilized for federal controlled substance law updates.3 There is a great resource center that includes the Controlled Substances Act and drug disposal information among other references.


Sign up for the Pharmacy Times newsletter and search the website.
The Pharmacy Times newsletter is a great free resource that provides updates to the pharmacy profession including new laws. Also, search the website as there are articles that discuss controlled substance laws that serve as a great review for pharmacists.
           
Before you know it, you will be an expert on the state and federal pharmacy laws!

References
  1. American Pharmacists Association.  Oath of a Pharmacist.  http://www.pharmacist.com/oath-pharmacist.  Accessed January 22, 2018.
  2. National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.  Boards of pharmacy.  https://nabp.pharmacy/boards-of-pharmacy/.  Accessed January 23, 2018.
  3. Drug Enforcement Administration.  Resource center.  https://www.dea.gov/index.shtml.  Accessed January 23, 2018.


Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh
Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh
Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh, received her PharmD degree from Nova Southeastern University (NSU) College of Pharmacy in 2006 and completed a 2-year drug information residency. She served as a pharmacy professor at NSU’s College of Pharmacy for 6 years, managed the drug information center, and conducted medication therapy management reviews. Dr. Gershman has published research on prescription drug abuse, regulatory issues, and drug information in various scholarly journals. Additionally, she received the Sheriff’s Special Recognition Award for her collaboration with the Broward, Florida Sheriff’s Office to prevent prescription drug abuse through a drug disposal program. She has also presented at pharmacist and physician continuing education programs on topics that include medication errors, prescription drug abuse, and legal and regulatory issues. Dr. Gershman can be followed on Twitter @jgershman2
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