Ohio Sen. Timothy Grendell, sponsor of Ohio’s pharmacy technician requirement nationally known as "Emily’s Law," introduced a bill that, if enacted, will change drastically the reporting of drug errors to and subsequent investigation process by Ohio Board of Pharmacy (Board). Ohio Senate Bill 119 requires any pharmacist, pharmacy intern or qualified technician who "possesses information reasonably suggesting that an error was made in dispensing" a prescription drug to report such suspected error to the Board. Failure to report would constitute, not merely an ethical violation subject to the disciplinary procedures of the Board, but a crime. Such crime would be punishable by a fine up to $250 and imprisonment of up to 30 days, with three or more convictions in a six-month period resulting in increased penalties of up to $1,000 in fines and imprisonment of up to 180 days. Further, the reporting pharmacist, pharmacy intern or technician would be required to retain, and make available to the Board upon request, all documents, labels, vials, supplies, substances and any internal investigative materials related to the suspected error, and the Board would be required to investigate all reports made.
In addition to criminalizing failure to report suspected errors, the sheer volume of reports that would be generated by S.B. 119 each year is alarming. Nothing in S.B. 119 defines or limits in any way what constitutes a dispensing "error" subject to mandatory reporting to and investigation by the Board. Therefore, reportable "error" could consist of anything from dispensing the wrong drug or wrong dose, to dispensing too many or too few pills. S.B. 119 is opposed strongly by both the Ohio Society of Health System Pharmacists and the Ohio Pharmacists Association. The bill has been assigned to the Ohio Senate Health, Human Services, and Aging Committee, but has yet to be scheduled for hearing.