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New York’s regulations limit what a pharmacy technician can do. That’s hurting hospitals – and workers.

Current state regulations drive certified pharmacy technicians away, but the state Legislature can act to fix this problem now.

Certified pharmacy technicians are critically important to the operation and success of hospital pharmacies.

But right now, New York is one of only four states that do not recognize certified pharmacy technicians in statute or regulation. The Legislature and governor can resolve this issue – and it’s critically important that they do so.

As specialists under the direct supervision of licensed pharmacists, pharmacy technicians are well-qualified to support the various functions of a hospital pharmacy in a manner that ensures quality and safety. For decades, hospital pharmacy technicians safely assisted pharmacists with preparing and dispensing drugs. They continue to do so elsewhere in the nation.

Unfortunately, a recent reinterpretation of New York state regulations threatens to severely limit what a pharmacy technician can do, leaving these technicians out of work and hospital pharmacies statewide looking at very expensive solutions at a time when medical costs are already out of control.

Reinterpreted regulations cause dramatic consequences

This year, the New York State Education Department notified hospital pharmacies that pharmacy technicians may not continue to perform tasks they previously performed with the department’s blessing. Due to the lack of explicit language in New York state law or regulation authorizing pharmacy technicians (certified or locally trained) to assist licensed pharmacists with preparing and dispensing medications, hospital pharmacies are now left without critical support to serve their patients.

New York’s hospitals don’t just need the pharmacy technicians to do what they have been doing for years – in fact, they need more of them!

State regulations make New York an unwelcome place to work and exacerbate an already-existing workforce shortage. Young people across the country are getting certified to work as pharmacy technicians. We should want to draw them to New York – not make it harder for them to want to come here.

New York needs to recognize – and welcome – hospital pharmacy technicians

At this time, nationally-certified pharmacy technicians have no reason to work and practice in New York because the investment they have made in their own future is not recognized here as it is in the vast majority of the country.

New York State Assembly bill A.8319, sponsored by Assembly member Jamie Romeo, would amend Education Law to allow a pharmacy technician licensed by the SED, employed by an Article 28 facility (such as a hospital) and under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist to assist that pharmacist in certain activities related to preparing and dispensing medications.

Enactment of this legislation would ensure that New York recognizes the critical role of the hospital certified pharmacy technician. Hospitals need these technicians. New York needs these workers. Passing and enacting this legislation is critically important.