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.

Marcie Bough, PharmD, RPh

Executive Officer, Montana Board of Pharmacy

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

Like other states, the Board had to address how wholesale drug distributors are licensed. The 2017 Montana Legislature passed the Board’s bill to separate our single wholesale license into four license types to comply with Drug Supply Chain Security Act requirements. The new law also defines outsourcing facilities, so the Board can move forward with ways to better identify sterile compounders. Implementation of these changes will continue to be challenging, as we try to limit the administrative impact on current licensees. It is an interesting process to now be implementing at the state level some of the issues I had worked on at the federal level.

What other key issues has the Board been focusing on?

The Board administers the Montana Prescription Drug Registry, our prescription drug monitoring program, and is pleased with the implementation of delegate access and interstate data sharing enhancements, which have helped increase registration and utilization rates. We appreciate NABP’s work in providing the NABP PMP InterConnect® program, which enables interstate data sharing. We are now moving forward with de-identification of data for research and analysis purposes and other improvements. In addition, the Board continues to collaborate with the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, law enforcement, and others to implement new 2017 laws increasing access to naloxone andto develop a state opioid strategic plan. Also, the Board has a great working relationship with the Montana Pharmacy Association, and we will continue to monitor its achievements in helping pharmacists receive payment for services by utilizing the Board’s existing Clinical Pharmacist Practitioners endorsement, issued in conjunction with the Montana Board of Medical Examiners.

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

I encourage states to remember that Boards are responsible for more than the key roles of issuing licenses and regulating the practice of pharmacy to ensure public safety. It is important for Boards to step out of potential regulatory silos and utilize opportunities to collaborate with others. We can be trusted and valued resources for state legislatures, state and federal agencies, Congress, associations, the public, and other medical, pharmacy, nursing, and related stakeholders. Collaboration is key in helping to drive the direction of health care laws and regulations.

Read the full article in the February issue of Innovations.