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Michigan’s New Pharmacy Technician Licensure and Certification Act – Public Act 285

By Robert A. Welch, Jr.

On December 22, 2014, 2014 P.A. 285, referred to as the Pharmacy Technician Licensure and Certification Act (‘Act’) became effective. The Act amends several sections of part 177 of the public health code as well as MCL 333.16333. The Act provides for the licensure of pharmacy technicians. Previously, Michigan did not regulate pharmacy technicians, however, the Act purports to protect patient safety, minimize the diversion of controlled substances, and allow pharmacists to focus on patient care services. Under the Act, effective March 30, 2015 and beginning on June 30, 2015, an individual “shall not serve as a pharmacy technician unless licensed.” Section 17711.

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (‘LARA’) provides a licensing application form on their website to start the application process. Additionally, the Act requires a license applicant to pass the Certified Pharmacy Technician Examination, or a board-approved employer-based training program examination. Students in a pharmacy technician program approved by the Board while performing duties assigned in the course of training and individuals applying for temporary or limited licensure are excused from the examination requirement. Once licensed, Section 17731 requires pharmacy technicians to attend at least 20 hours of continuing education courses or programs, approved by the board, or satisfactorily complete a proficiency examination the two years prior to application for renewal.

The potential impact upon the pharmacy technician under this new licensure is substantial. Not only because of the new education and examination requirements, but also because licensure and regulation under LARA means that pharmacy technicians are now subjected to legal scrutiny as proscribed under the public health code which may lead to a professional licensure action against a pharmacy technician. (See also http://www.chapmanlawgroup.com/practice_area/professional_licensing/.) It may also lead to pharmacy technicians being forced into programs such as the Health Professionals Recovery Program in the case of alcohol- or drug-related arrests or workplace incidents. (See also http://www.chapmanlawgroup.com/hprp/.)

If you have a questions as to whether you need to seek licensure, section 17739 provides for the functions considered to be serving as a pharmacy technician. If you are the subject of an active investigation by your employer or the State, you have already received an Administrative Complaint, or if you have questions as to whether an action taken by you may result in an investigation or if you have an alcohol- or drug-related arrest in your recent past or near future, we urge you to contact us immediately. We can help you determine the best course of action.