Pharmacy Technicians Fighting For Their Jobs

June 7, 2019

Pharmacy Committee members met May 1 at Union headquarters in NYC to discuss changing NYS law to protect hospital pharmacy techs.

Under New York State law, hospital pharmacy technicians have for decades been allowed to mix batches of medication under the direction of a licensed pharmacist.

Now, the NYS Department of Education and the Board of Pharmacy have changed course and declared they need additional legal authority to allow pharmacy technicians to do this work. This move threatens technicians’ jobs.

1199ers, working with a coalition of professional associations of pharmacists and hospitals, are advocating for legislation which would explicitly allow certified pharmacy technicians to mix and compound medications in hospitals. The new law would protect quality of care through the new certification standard, while grandfathering experienced technicians who have already been doing the work. The Union’s pharmacy committee met at 1199’s Manhattan headquarters on May 1 to discuss the legislation and a plan of action, which included a trip to Albany to lobby legislators on May 7th.

Suhail Kahn, a pharmacist at LIJ-Forest Hills Hospital, said it was vital for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to work together to address the problem.

“Without getting this passed, pharmacy technicians won’t have jobs because right now there is no standard. People need to understand what that means,” said Kahn, an 1199ers for over three decades. “Sometimes workers are more afraid of taking a test than they are of what could happen if they don’t. We have to make sure members understand how important this is.”

- 1199 Magazine: May / June 2019