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UFCW Pharmacists’ Succeed in Push to Protect Patients and Public Health

Board of Pharmacy Votes to Adopt Regulations Making Sure “No Pharmacist Left Alone”

Sacramento, CA – After hearing from member pharmacists with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Western States Council, the California Board of Pharmacy voted Thursday to adopt regulations that reinforce standards set out by SB 1442 (Wiener), the No Pharmacist Left Alone Law. The regulations, drafted in response to a petition by UFCW, will help protect patients by requiring stores to make a designated, qualified staff member available to help pharmacists within five minutes of the pharmacists’ request.

“UFCW pharmacists are thankful that the Board of Pharmacy listened to us and took action to protect patients by strengthening enforcement of SB 1442,” said Todd Walters, president, UFCW Local 135. “Consistent enforcement is necessary to prevent large retail stores from evading the law’s purpose – to ensure pharmacists have the support necessary to focus on their core mission of keeping patients safe.”

“Our highly trained pharmacists are crucial to assuring access to health care for many Californians,” said Andrea Zinder, president, UFCW Western States Council and UFCW Local 324. “During this public health crisis they have stood out, going above and beyond their normal duties. We applaud the Board of Pharmacy, our pharmacist members and the public for ensuring pharmacists’ public health role is not compromised by short staffing.”

SB 1442 was passed in response to chronic understaffing of retail pharmacies that often led pharmacists to work alone for hours on end, compromising patient safety. In a time of public health crisis, retail stores continue to demand pharmacists perform multiple tasks, from dispensing medication to patients, to ringing up prescriptions and other store items, to clean the pharmacy bathrooms and taking out the trash.

The regulations now go to the Office of Administrative Law for approval and adoption into law.

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Contact: Jenna Thompson, 949.246.1620, jenna@paschalroth.com