Boards of pharmacy can face unexpected challenges while working to protect the public health. Here, board executive directors talk about how they worked around these obstacles.

Jennifer Zaelit, BS, CPhT

Bureau Manager, Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, Utah Board of Pharmacy

What is one of the most significant challenges or issues your board addressed in the past year or so?

Over the last year, challenges relating to technology have come up. We are striving to improve access to health care in underserved areas through telepharmacy. We have also seen a huge influx of virtual manufacturers. We are currently looking at which parts of United States Pharmacopeia (USP) Chapter <800> to implement in our state. The Board has also worked with the other professions to decrease opioid prescribing and overdose deaths.

What actions were taken by the Board to address these issues?

To address telepharmacy, the Board is looking closely at what other states have done. We invited specialists in telepharmacy to facilitate a discussion during a Board meeting. After the discussion, Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL) realized operating standards needed to be written before telepharmacy could be fully implemented. Regarding opioid issues, partial fills of prescriptions for opioids have been utilized to reduce the number of medications dispensed, and a standing prescription order allows for dispensing naloxone. A USP <800> study is being funded by DOPL, which focuses on handling hazardous medications, risk of exposure, and best practices for handling hazardous drugs for compounding.

What insights do you have for other states that may be facing similar challenges?

Collaborate with other states, boards (physicians and nursing), and specialists to help your board find the best outcome for the state. Attend an NABP conference to get to know other state board of pharmacy executives and learn what they have done.

Read the full article in the February 2019 issue of Innovations.