The extended deadline for licensure of pharmacy technicians is rapidly approaching. On June 30, 2015, any individual who performs the following tasks in a licensed pharmacy or for a dispensing prescriber in Michigan must be licensed:
- Assisting in the dispensing process
- Handling transfer of prescriptions, except controlled substances
- Compounding drugs
- Preparing or mixing intravenous drugs for injections into human patients
- Contacting prescribers concerning prescription clarification, not including drug regimen review or clinical or therapeutic interpretation
- Receiving verbal orders for prescription drugs, except controlled substances
- Reconstituting dosage forms under a pharmacist’s delegation (per proposed rules)
There is no grandfathering available for individuals who are currently performing these functions; all individuals must be licensed by June 30, 2015. A pharmacy or dispensing prescriber using a pharmacy technician must insure that the pharmacy technician performs these functions only under the supervision and personal charge of a pharmacist or dispensing prescriber. Failure to use only licensed pharmacy technicians can subject pharmacies, pharmacists and dispensing prescribers to penalties for violation of the Public Health Code’s professional conduct requirements. Unlicensed practice as a pharmacy technician may also result in penalties to the unlicensed individual.
Individuals interested in pharmacy tech licensure have three licensure options:
- Full Licensure – Requires full satisfaction of all licensure requirements.
- Temporary Licensure – A 210-day license available to persons preparing for a licensure exam.
- Limited Licensure – Available to those with 1,000 hours of qualifying employment during the two-year period preceding licensure application, as attested by the applicant’s employer on the license application. A limited license becomes invalid if the licensee does not remain employed by, or begins performing tasks for, an employer other than the employer who signed the affidavit portion of the limited license application.
Students in a pharmacy technician educational program are exempt from licensure when performing duties assigned as part of a course of training. Licensure application forms may be downloaded from the Michigan Board of Pharmacy website.
Individuals applying for pharmacy technician licensure must satisfy all of the following requirements:
- Submit licensure application and fees
- Hold a high school diploma or GED
- Pass a criminal background check
- Pass one of the following exams:
- Certified pharmacy technician exam given by Pharmacy Technician Certification Board
- Certified pharmacy technician exam given by the National Health Career Association
- Pharmacy employer-based training exam approved by the Michigan Board of Pharmacy
- Complete continuing education for licensure renewal
Pharmacies and dispensing prescribers who currently use unlicensed personnel to assist with dispensing functions are advised to act promptly—well in advance of the June 30, 2015 deadline—in order to prevent adverse action against their own license.