APRIL 01, 2008

Reps Steven LaTourette (R, OH) and Stephen Lynch (D, MA) have introduced sweeping federal legislation that will mandate training, education, registration, and certification requirements for pharmacy technicians nationwide.

Also known as "Emily's Act," named after a 2-year-old Ohio resident who died in 2006 after a pharmacy technician made an error with her chemotherapy dose, HR 5491 will set a floor for states to meet but will not weaken any state laws, according to the bill's sponsors. Currently, states oversee pharmacists and technicians, but regulations regarding training, certification, and continuing education vary from state to state.

The bill, which has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, would require states to register pharmacy technicians and have them pass the national Pharmacy Technician Board Certification exam, which triggers mandatory continuing education and renewal every 2 years. The bill also would provide grants to states to comply with the act, and any state accepting a grant would have to report pharmacy technician errors to the US Secretary of Health and Human Services. In addition, the legislation expresses that it is the sense of Congress that pharmacists be capped at supervising 3 technicians at 1 time.