Topics: Advocacy, News, Press

UFCW Member Pharmacists Oppose Bill to Drastically Change Technician Ratio Changes and Worsen Patient Care

Sacramento, CA – The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Western States Council announced its opposition to SB 1365 (Glazer), which would allow up to six technicians for every pharmacist on duty, drastically changing the current pharmacist-to-technician ratio. Existing law prohibits a pharmacy with only one pharmacist on duty from having to supervise the work of more than one pharmacy technician and a pharmacy with two pharmacists on duty from having to supervise the work of more than three pharmacy technicians. 

While the Senate Business and Professions Committee proposed amending the bill to have a ratio of one pharmacist to four technicians, this amendment will still have a major impact on patient care in our community pharmacies. The council released the following statement:

“California law requires pharmacists to directly supervise the work of pharmacy technicians,” said Kathy Finn, president, UFCW Local 770. “Adding more technicians means that pharmacists would be supervising more tasks, stretching our state’s already overworked pharmacists to the brink and putting patients at risk.”

In 2021, the California Board of Pharmacy released a workforce survey of pharmacists that sought information about working conditions in community pharmacies. The survey results highlighted what UFCW’s member pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy staff already knew – they faced significant challenges in terms of their workload, which was further exacerbated by the expanded role they played in providing essential health care to Californians:

  • 83% of respondent pharmacists in community chain pharmacies said they don’t have sufficient time to provide appropriate patient consultation 
  • 91% said current staffing levels are inappropriate to ensure adequate patient care 
  • 78% of respondents said they do not have time to provide adequate screening prior to the immunization of a vaccine

“This bill is a clear money-making scheme from corporate retail pharmacies,” continued Finn. “They want to hire more lower-paid pharmacy technicians while keeping the number of pharmacists the same to dramatically increase the number of prescriptions being filled. This will put our member pharmacists’ licenses on the line and put patients at risk. UFCW’s priority is to ensure that pharmacists and pharmacy staff are able to handle the increased demand and workload in patient care without compromising quality care and safety. That’s why we adamantly oppose SB 1365.”

“The California Board of Pharmacy is currently surveying pharmacists to develop a pharmacist-to-technician ratio proposal to introduce next year via legislation or through the sunset process. Their approach will be backed by data and have input from pharmacists. This is the appropriate process to discuss any pharmacist-to-technician ratio change, not through this misguided legislation that will only lead to worsening patient care at the pharmacy and lead to significant pharmacist job loss.”

SB 1365 (Glazer) passed through the Senate Business and Professions Committee today. 

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April 15, 2024

Contact: Jenna Thompson, 949.246.1620, [email protected]