Health Law Highlights

California Enacts First-in-Nation Pharmacy Medication Error Reporting Law

From Husch Blackwell, by Kevin Khachatryan:

On October 8, 2023, the California Governor signed Assembly Bill 1286 (AB 1286), a comprehensive pharmacy bill aimed at enhancing patient safety. The bill’s key mandate is a new requirement for community pharmacies to report outpatient medication errors to the California Board of Pharmacy. The legislation also includes several other provisions that regulate the practice of pharmacy in California.

The bill was enacted in response to a 2021 survey by the California Board of Pharmacy, which revealed significant staffing issues contributing to medication errors. The survey found that 91% of retail pharmacists reported inadequate staffing for safe patient care, 83% lacked sufficient time for safe patient consultation, and 78% had insufficient time to conduct proper health screenings before administering immunizations. This led to the establishment of a Medication Error Reduction and Task Force Ad Hoc Committee and the sponsorship of AB 1286.

AB 1286 also introduces several other changes, including amendments which govern staffing decisions in pharmacies and the responsibilities of the Pharmacist-in-Charge (PIC). The law now requires chain community pharmacies to be staffed at all times with at least one clerk or pharmacy technician dedicated to pharmacy-related services, subject to certain conditions. The bill also expands the list of actions that constitute unprofessional conduct and authorizes specially trained pharmacy technicians to prepare and administer certain vaccines and medications.