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Chapter 480-15 PHARMACY TECHNICIANS AND OTHER PHARMACY PERSONNEL

Rule 480-15-.01 Definitions

For purposes of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply:

(a) "Board" shall mean the Georgia State Board of Pharmacy.
(b) "Certified pharmacy technician" shall mean a registered pharmacy technician who has either successfully passed a certification program approved by the Board, or has successfully passed an employer's training and assessment program approved by the Board, or has been certified by either the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or any other nationally recognized certifying body approved by the Board.
(c) "Pharmacist" shall mean an individual currently licensed by this state to engage in the practice of pharmacy.
(d) Pharmacist in charge" means a pharmacist currently licensed in this state who accepts responsibility for the operation of a pharmacy in conformance with all laws and rules pertinent to the practice of pharmacy and the distribution of drugs and who is personally in full and actual charge of such pharmacy and personnel.
(e) "Pharmacy intern" shall mean an individual who is a student currently enrolled in an approved school or college of pharmacy, has registered with the Board, and has been licensed as a pharmacy intern, or a graduate of an approved school or college of pharmacy who is currently licensed by the board for the purpose of obtaining practical experience as a requirement for licensure as a pharmacist, or an individual who has established educational equivalency by obtaining a Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Examination Committee (FPGEC) certificate and is currently licensed by the Board for the purpose of obtaining practical experience as a requirement for licensure as a pharmacist.
(f) "Pharmacy extern" shall mean an individual who is a student currently enrolled in an approved school or college of pharmacy and who has been assigned by the school or college of pharmacy for the purposes of obtaining practical experience and completing a degree in pharmacy.
(g) "Registered Pharmacy technician" shall mean those support persons registered with the board who are utilized in pharmacies and whose responsibilities are to provide nonjudgmental technical services concerned with the preparation for dispensing of drugs under the direct supervision and responsibility of a pharmacist.

Rule 480-15-.02 Registration of Pharmacy Technicians

(a) Effective August 1, 2011, a pharmacy may only employ registered pharmacy technicians to perform pharmacy technician duties.
(b) In order to be registered as a Pharmacy Technician in this State, an applicant shall:
(1) Submit an application to the Board on the form prescribed by the Board;
(2) Attest that applicant is at least 17 years old;
(3) Attest that applicant is currently enrolled in high school, or has a high school diploma, or has a GED, or has a postsecondary education or college degree;
(4) Consent to, provide the necessary information to conduct, and pay for a background check to be conducted by the Board, its agent or a firm or firms approved by the Board, which background check will include a criminal history, driver license history and other information as the Board deems necessary, and will authorize the Board and the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency to receive the results;
(5) Submit the name and address of employer and place of employment;
(6) Pay application fees; and
(7) If certified, submit evidence of training supporting designation as certified.
(c) The Board may deny registration or conditionally grant registration for any of the reasons set forth in Code sections 26-4-60 or 43-1-19. This includes convictions, pleas of nolo contendere and guilty pleas related to misdemeanor crimes of moral turpitude or marijuana and to felonies. In addition, no pharmacist whose license has been denied, revoked, suspended, or restricted for disciplinary purposes shall be eligible to be registered as a pharmacy technician.
(d) The denial of an application for registration as a pharmacy technician shall not be a contested case and the applicant shall not be entitled to a hearing under the Georgia Administrative Procedures Action, O.C.G.A. T. 50, Ch. 13, but such applicant may be entitled to an appearance before the Board.
(e) A registration, once issued, is renewable biennially, upon payment of a fee. Registrations shall expire on June 30th of each odd-numbered year. If the application for renewal is not made and the fee paid before September 1st of the odd-numbered year, the registration shall lapse and shall not be renewed. An application for a new registration shall be required.
(f) A registrant has a responsibility to update the Board with a change of home address and employment address within ten (10) days of such change.

Rule 480-15-.03 Use of Registered Pharmacy Technicians and Other Pharmacy Personnel

(a) In dispensing drugs, no individual other than a licensed pharmacist, intern or extern working under direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist shall perform or conduct those duties or functions which require professional judgment. It shall be the responsibility of the supervising pharmacist to ensure that no other employee of the pharmacy, excluding pharmacy interns or externs, performs or conducts those duties or functions which require professional judgment.
(b) For all prescription drug orders, it shall be the responsibility of the Pharmacist on duty at a facility to ensure that only a pharmacist or a pharmacy intern and/or extern under the direct supervision of a registered pharmacist provides professional consultation and counseling with patients or other licensed health care professionals and that only a pharmacist or a pharmacy intern or an extern under the direct supervision of a registered pharmacist accepts telephoned oral prescription drug orders or provides or receives information in any manner relative to prescriptions or prescription drugs.
(c) Registered pharmacy technicians and other pharmacy personnel, i.e. clerks, cashiers, observers, etc., in the prescription department shall be easily identifiable by use of a name badge or other similar means which prominently displays their name and the job function in which the personnel are engaging at that time. Any pharmacy personnel or other person present in the pharmacy department must be under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist.
(d) In the dispensing of all prescription drug orders:
(1) The pharmacist shall be responsible for all activities of any registered pharmacy technician in the preparation of the drug for delivery to the patient.
(2) The pharmacist shall be present and personally supervising the activities of any registered pharmacy technician at all times.
(3) When electronic systems are employed within the pharmacy, registered pharmacy technicians may enter information into the system and prepare labels; provided, however, that it shall be the responsibility of the pharmacist to verify the accuracy if the information entered and the label produced in conjunction with the prescription drug order.
(4) When a prescription drug order is presented for filling or refilling, it shall be the responsibility of the pharmacist to review all appropriate information and make the determination as to whether to fill the prescription drug order, and
(5) Any other function deemed by the Board to require professional judgment.
(e) The pharmacist to registered pharmacy technician ratio shall not exceed one pharmacist providing direct supervision of three registered pharmacy technicians. One of the three technicians must:
(1) Have successfully passed a certification program approved by the Board of Pharmacy;
(2) Have successfully passed an employer's training and assessment program which has been approved by the Board of Pharmacy; or
(3) Have been certified by the Pharmacy technician Certification Board.
(f) In addition to the utilization of three (3) registered pharmacy technicians, if one is certified, a pharmacist may be assisted by and directly supervise at the same time one (1) pharmacy intern, as well as one (1) pharmacy extern, and one (1) pharmacy observer.
(g) The board may consider and approve an application to increase the ratio in a pharmacy located in a licensed hospital. Such application must be made in writing and may be submitted to the Board by the pharmacist in charge of a specific hospital pharmacy in this state.
(h) No completed prescription drug order shall be given to the patient requesting same unless the contents and the label thereof shall have been verified by a registered pharmacist.
(i) The Board of Pharmacy may revoke or suspend the registration of a pharmacy technician for any of the grounds set forth in O.C.G.A. Sections 43-1-19 or 26-40-60. The revocation or suspension of the registration of a pharmacy technician is not a contested case under the Georgia Administrative Procedures Act, O.C.G.A.T. 50, Ch.13, and the technician is not entitled to a hearing, but the technician may be entitled to an appearance before the Board.

Rule 480-15-.04 Duties of the Pharmacist in Charge Related to Registered Pharmacy Technicians

(a) The Pharmacist in Charge shall be responsible for:
(1) providing updated information to the Board in accordance with rules and regulations regarding the registered pharmacy technicians employed in the pharmacy for purposes maintaining the registry of registered pharmacy technicians established by the Board pursuant to paragraph (7) of subsection (a) of Code Section 26-4-28.
(2) Ensuring the reporting the separation of employment or termination of any Registered pharmacy technician for any suspected or confirmed criminal occupational-related activities committed or any drug-related reason, including but not limited to Adulteration, abuse, theft or diversion and shall include in the notice the reason for the termination.
(3) Assuring that all pharmacists and pharmacy interns and externs employed at the pharmacy are currently licensed and that registered pharmacy technicians employed at the pharmacy are currently registered with the Board of Pharmacy.
(4) Notifying the Board of any change in the employment status of all registered technicians in the pharmacy within 10 days of the technician's separation date from employment,
(5) Ensuring that registered pharmacy technicians in the prescription department shall be easily identifiable by use of a name badge or other similar means which prominently displays their name and job title. The Pharmacist-in-Charge is responsible for ensuring that such persons wear or display such identification at all times when they are working in the prescription department.
(6) Shall ensure that the current registration for each registered pharmacy technician is readily accessible for inspection by the Board or Drugs and Narcotics Agents.
(7) Ensuring that a pharmacist is responsible for the dispensing of all prescription drug orders and for all activities of any pharmacy technician in the preparation of the drug for delivery to the patient, and that a pharmacist shall be present and personally supervising the activities of any pharmacy technician at all times.
(b) The Board of Pharmacy can take disciplinary action against the license of a pharmacist in charge who violates the provisions of this rule as authorized by O.C.G.A. Sections 43-1-19 and 26-4-60.

Rule 480-15-.05 Duties or Functions Prohibited from Being Performed by a Registered Pharmacy Technician

(a) In dispensing drugs, no individual other than a licensed pharmacist shall perform or conduct those duties or functions which require professional judgment. It shall be the responsibility of the supervising pharmacist to ensure to that no other employee of the pharmacy, excluding pharmacy interns or externs but including registered pharmacy technicians, performs, or conducts those duties or functions which require professional judgment. The following functions require the professional judgment of a pharmacist, or a pharmacy intern or extern, under the direct supervision of a pharmacist, and may not be performed by a registered pharmacy technician:
(1) Acceptance of telephoned or other oral prescriptions;
(2) Transfers of prescription drug orders from another pharmacy or transfers of a prescription drug order to another pharmacy;
(3) Patient counseling;
(4) Receiving information or providing information about a prescription drug order;
(5) Making the determination as to whether to refill the prescription drug order;
(6) Certification of a filled and finished prescription drug order;
(7) Weighing or measuring active ingredients without a mechanism of verification;
(8) Compounding of medication without a mechanism of verification;
(9) Giving a completed prescription to the patient requesting same without the label and contents and the label being verified by a pharmacist.
(10) Reconstitution of prefabricated medication without a mechanism of verification;
(11) Verification of the constituents of final IV admixtures for accuracy, efficacy, and patient utilization;
(12) Enter of order on patient medication profiles without verification by a pharmacist;
(13) Provision of drug information that has not been prepared or approved by the pharmacist;
(14) Review of the patient record for therapeutic appropriateness; and
(15) Any other act prohibited by Board rule, or law.

Rule 480-15-.06 Other Pharmacy Personnel

(1) Effective June 1, 2016, a pharmacy may permit pharmacy observers to shadow licensed pharmacists for the limited and exclusive purpose of education about the practice of pharmacy.
(2) Requirements. In order to be pharmacy observer, an individual must:
(a) Be at least seventeen (17) years old;
(b) Be currently enrolled in high school or in general education diploma preparation courses; and
(c) Not have been convicted of a felony and/or any offense that was related to drugs and have an attestation by the principal of his/her school or parent or guardian stating that the observer has neither been convicted of a felony or any offense that was related to drugs.
(3) Limitation of Duties. A pharmacy observer shall not perform any duties that require licensure as a pharmacist or pharmacy intern or registration as a pharmacy technician under the Georgia Pharmacy Practice Act (O.C.G.A. Title 26, Chapter 4) or the Rules of the Georgia Board of Pharmacy. It shall be the responsibility of the supervising pharmacist and the pharmacist-in-charge to ensure that no pharmacy observer performs or conducts those duties or functions that require licensure or registration under Georgia law or rules.
(4) Restriction of Access. A pharmacy observer shall not be present in the pharmacy for more than eight (8) hours per day and in no circumstance for more than forty (40) hours.
(5) Requirement of Direct Supervision. The supervising pharmacist shall be present and personally supervise the pharmacy observer at all times that the observer is in the pharmacy. The pharmacist to pharmacy observer ratio shall not exceed one pharmacist providing direct supervision of one pharmacy observer.
(6) Identification of Pharmacy Observers. The pharmacist-in-charge shall be responsible for ensuring that any pharmacy observer in the prescription department is easily identifiable by the use of a name badge or other similar means which prominently displays the observer's name and job title. The pharmacist-in-charge is responsible for ensuring that such a person wears or displays such identification at all times when the person is present in the prescription department.
(7) Professional Conduct. A pharmacy observer shall be subject to any confidentiality restrictions under state and/or federal law or regulation to which other pharmacy employees are subject. The pharmacist-in-charge shall conduct all training required to ensure that the pharmacy observer understands and complies with his/her obligations of confidentiality under state and federal law or regulation.