What is it like to be a board of pharmacy member? This feature goes behind-the-scenes for an in-depth look into a board’s inner workings.

Gina A. Archer, MHA, PharmD, RPh

Member, Bahamas Pharmacy Council

When were you appointed to the Bahamas Pharmacy Council? What type of member are you?

I was appointed by the minister of health in July 2018 to serve as chair of the Bahamas Pharmacy Council and have been serving in this position to date. I am a pharmacist by profession and presently employed by the Ministry of Health, where I have the dual role of acting chief pharmacist and director of the Bahamas National Drug Agency.

What steps should a board member take to be successful in his or her role?

Board members should first make every effort to prepare for and attend all meetings. Members should actively participate and make meaningful contributions at meetings as well as serve on the various committees. It is also important to be familiar with their respective state or country legislation, as I have observed that this is key in decision making and policy creation.

What are some recent policies, legislation, or regulations that the Council has implemented or is currently working on?

The Pharmacy Council is, at present, working on a number of policy and pharmacy regulation reviews. The focus of one of the Council’s committees is improving the mechanism for the import and export registration process of drugs within the Bahamas. The Pharmacy Act (2009) gives the Council the authority to approve all drugs imported into and exported out of the country, and this approval is given once set criteria for each drug product is met. In order to streamline the process for the registration of drugs within the Bahamas, the Council realized that the present regulations had to be amended. Some of the proposed amendments include adding relevant definitions to the regulations (parallel import being an example of one of them) and expanding on the current list of required supporting documents. Another piece of regulation that the Council’s finance committee has been working on is the restructuring of the existing fee schedule. As the Council continues to grow, the Pharmacy (Registration and Licensing) Regulations (2010), which contain the various fee schedules for practitioners and facilities, are no longer sufficient to support the activities of the Council. Discussions pertaining to forecasting and developing a new fee table are actively ongoing.

Has the Council encountered any challenges to developing and/or implementing these new policies, legislation, or regulations?

The Council has encountered a few challenges, but not many. One of the challenges faced regarding the forward movement of the recommended amendments to the import/export regulations was the delay in getting the document to the Ministry of Health. Due to the recent changes in the makeup of the Council body, these amendments must be reviewed again before they are forwarded to the Ministry of Health and then onward for the Cabinet’s approval.

Have you served as a member of any NABP task forces or committees, or attended NABP or district meetings?

During my two years as chair of the Bahamas Pharmacy Council, I had the great opportunity to attend the Interactive Compliance Officer and Legal Counsel Forum in December 2019 and the Interactive Member Forum in January 2020. These forums were tremendously beneficial and highly insightful. It was a valuable experience to learn what other boards were doing to ensure patient safety as pharmacy practice evolves, whether it be in the form of telepharmacy or the Canadian competency assessment of pharmacists. I was able to interact with other board members and take back new information to my Council.

This article also appeared in the October 2020 edition of Innovations.