My name is Jean-Marc Bovee, Pharm.D. I was a pharmacy technician for 10 years before graduating pharmacy school, and have now worked as a pharmacist for five years. I can think of no more crucial issue facing pharmacy, and health care in general, than the required training and certification of pharmacy technicians nationwide, and especially in Florida. 30 states have pharmacy technician training requirements while Florida does not have any. This is inexcusable.
Pharmacy technicians work in an environment in which the life and health of consumers are continuously at stake. The medications that they prepare for dispensing by the pharmacist have the ability for truly calamitous and disastrous results if they are incompetent, and, in my experience, not only do MOST properly fit that description, but at least a full 50% are positively lethal behind the pharmacy counter and thus have no business back there. More often than not they are hired off of the street or transfered from the grocery department, and have no interest in being responsible members of the medical community. They have no understanding whatsoever of the tremendous responsibility that they hold as active participants in a branch of medicine.
It is a testament to the diligence of pharmacists everywhere that ABC's 20/20 program on pharmacy technician errors are not made more frequently. As the numbers of patients grow, particularly in Florida where work volume is already skyrocketing, I fear this will lead to a massive increase in medication errors, and hospitalizations, or worse.
Pharmacists can only do so much. We must have trained and knowledgeable personnel assisting us. We cannot afford not to act, especially when fees paid by pharmacy technicians to become registered would offset the administrative cost of the program anyway.
I will be more than willing to testify to the things that I have witnessed in my own personal experiences, and will share anecdotes that will send chills down the spines of all who hear them.