Ohio Pharmacy Technicians May Soon Need License

Ohio is 1 of 8 states that don't require pharmacy technicians to be licensed, but that could change if a recent proposal gets passed.

Ohio is 1 of 8 states that don’t require pharmacy technicians to be licensed, but that could change if a recent proposal gets passed.

Ohio governor John Kasich has put forth a budget proposal in which he recommended that all technicians register with the state’s Board of Pharmacy and obtain a license in order to work in a pharmacy setting. Currently, Ohio technicians must only pass an examination approved by the state pharmacy board.

The suggestion is part of a larger effort to curb Ohio’s growing opioid abuse epidemic, an issue that has claimed more lives than car accidents in the Buckeye State since 2007. The problem hit its peak in 2014, when 2482 patients in the state died from accidental drug overdose.

As nearly one-third of Ohio’s 140 pharmacy drug thefts over the past 3 years were committed by technicians, registering techs with the state could help prevent opioids from falling into the wrong hands, according to Ohio Board of Pharmacy executive director Steven Schierholt.

“With the current system, if a pharmacy technician engages in theft from a pharmacy, and if an employer chooses to fire them or allow them to resign, nothing keeps them from going down the street and getting another job,” Schierholt said in a press release.

Other potential opioid abuse-combatting measures proposed by Gov. Kasich, a Republican presidential candidate, include:

  • Requiring sole proprietors—including physicians, veterinarians, dentists, and other health care professionals in private practices—who distribute controlled substances to be licensed by the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy.
  • Requiring facilities where 30 or more patients are treated with Suboxone to be licensed by the state pharmacy board.
  • Expanding the use of naloxone in schools, homeless shelters, halfway houses, and treatment centers.
  • Waiving the requirement that medical providers be certified in Ohio for 2 years prior to operating a methadone clinic.
  • Limiting the length of a controlled analgesic prescription to 90 days, and requiring patients who don’t have a prescription for a controlled substance filled within 30 days to obtain a new prescription.

Ohio’s current technician regulations were put into place following the 2009 signing of Emily’s law, which was named after a 2-year-old girl who passed away after a tragic technician error. Prior to the law’s passage, technicians only needed a high school diploma in order to work at a pharmacy.

A complete list of pharmacy technician requirements in each state can be found here.