California Amends its Pharmacy Law

By Michael Klazema on 9/27/2013

Governor Brown approved Senate Bill 493 on September 12, 2013. The bill amends the state’s Pharmacy Law.  It, among other things, establishes board recognition for an “Advanced Practice Pharmacist”, and specifies the criteria necessary for the recognition.

Section 4016.5 is added to the California Business and Professions Code. It defines “Advanced practice pharmacist” as a licensed pharmacist who has been recognized as an advanced practice pharmacist by the board, pursuant to Section 4210 of the Business and Professions Code. A board-recognized advanced practice pharmacist is entitled to practice advanced practice pharmacy within or outside of a licensed pharmacy.

Section 4052.6 is added and specifies the functions that may be performed by an advanced practice pharmacist, such as:

  1. Perform patient assessments;
  2. Order and interpret drug therapy-related tests;
  3. Refer patients to other health care providers;
  4. Participate in the evaluation and management of diseases and health conditions in collaboration with other health care providers; and
  5. Initiate, adjust or discontinue drug therapy in the manner specified in Section 4054.2 of the Business and Professions Code.

Section 4210 is added to the California Business and Professions Code. This section lists the following requirements necessary for persons who seek recognition as an advanced practice pharmacists:

  1. An active license in good standing to practice pharmacy issued by the California State Board of Pharmacy.
  1. Persons must satisfy any two of the following criteria:
    1. Earn certification in a relevant area of practice from an organization recognized by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education or another entity recognized by the board. Examples include ambulatory care, critical care, geriatric pharmacy, nuclear pharmacy, nutrition support pharmacy, oncology pharmacy, pediatric pharmacy, pharmacotherapy, or psychiatric pharmacy.
    2. Complete a postgraduate residency through an accredited postgraduate institution where at least 50 percent of the experience includes the provision of direct patient care services with interdisciplinary teams.
    3. Have provided clinical services to patients for at least one year under a collaborative practice agreement or protocol with a physician, advanced practice pharmacist, pharmacist practicing collaborative drug therapy management, or health system.
  2. File an application with the board for recognition as an advanced practice pharmacist.
  3. Pay the applicable fee to the board.

To have an active license in good standing to practice pharmacy, the applicant must submit to a criminal history information check from both the Department of Justice and the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, and submit fingerprints, prior to taking the licensure examination or at the time of license renewal.

The legislation states the recognition shall be valid for two years, exactly the same as the certificate holder’s license to practice pharmacy. Advanced practice pharmacists must complete 10 hours of continuing education each renewal cycle in areas of practice relevant to the pharmacist’s clinical practice. The bill authorizes the State Board of Pharmacy to adopt regulations establishing the means of documenting completion of the requirements, and to set fees for the issuance and renewal of the recognition.

Senate Bill 493 also states that pharmacists are health care providers who have the authority to provide health care services. It authorizes an expansion of functions permitted by all pharmacists.

The bill becomes effective January 1, 2014.

A copy of the legislation is available here:

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