Workplace Regulation Update
Effective March 9, 2023, 201 KAR 2:450 further defines unprofessional conduct as it pertains to pharmacy permit holders. The new regulation was necessary to clarify the current statute that does not explicitly list permit holders in the definition sections of KRS 315.121.
In early 2022, KPhA's Pharmacy Workplace Environment Advisory Committee (PWEAC) worked diligently to determine and propose actions to the Kentucky Board of Pharmacy to address ongoing unsafe pharmacy workplace conditions. The Committee introduced the idea and language for the new regulation to the KYBOP in July 2022, in hopes the new regulation would provide solid guidance for pharmacy personnel to advocate for safe practices within their workplace and for pharmacy permit holders to be held accountable when subjecting their employees to unsafe working conditions.
The regulation identifies specific acts of unprofessional conduct for pharmacy permit holders. To summarize, unprofessional conduct of pharmacy permit holders include:
Introduce or enforce any policies or procedures or require a pharmacist to operate a pharmacy with policies or procedures that could result in the deviation from safe practice.
Restrict patients' timely access to services.
Failure to provide resources to pharmacists or to identify and resolve unsafe conditions that interfere with a pharmacist's ability to practice competently and safely, which includes appropriate staffing, training, rest, and meal periods.
Retaliate against pharmacy personnel who report or refuse to operate a pharmacy that deviates from safe practices or state and federal laws and regulations.
The objective of the regulation is to establish administrative measures that ensure each permit holder is held accountable for competent and ethical pharmacy operations while ensuring patient safety and maintaining reasonable access to quality pharmacy services. In the case where unsafe conditions are present, the regulation protects pharmacy staff who are no longer willing to work in an unsafe working environment. This will hopefully lead to improved pharmacist and technician retention in the community pharmacy setting.
Moving forward, KPhA's Pharmacy Work Environment Advisory Committee plans to propose to the Kentucky Board of Pharmacy an update and improvement to the Board's current grievance process to ensure workplace condition complaints can efficiently and anonymously be reported.