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Emily's Law for Regulating Pharmacy Technicians Signed by Ohio Governor

Thursday, January 8, 2009 General News J E 4
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COLUMBUS, Ohio, Jan. 7 SB 203, known as Emily's Law, has received Governor Ted Strickland's signature today, making the law official in the state of Ohio. Named after Emily Jerry, Emily's Law will provide strict requirements and regulations for pharmacy technicians. The law, which was originally sponsored by Senator Tim Grendell, was drafted with assistance of the National Pharmacy Technician Association.



Emily's Story

Emily Jerry died at the age of two as the result of a medication error caused by a pharmacy technician. On the day that Emily was to have her final chemo treatment and received an excellent prognosis from physicians, she was given a fatal dosage of chemotherapy. The pharmacy technician who prepared Emily's chemotherapy had opted to compound her own normal saline base solution, as opposed to using a commercially manufactured (prepacked) IV solution bag.



Standard IV bags contain a base solution of 0.9% NaCL (sodium chloride); the base solution prepared for Emily contained approximately 20x the standard concentration of sodium chloride. Prior to entering a coma, Emily grabbed her head, screamed and cried as she experienced a fatal overdose of sodium chloride.



Although pharmacy technicians practice under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist, the public assumes that these individuals are still required to be properly trained and demonstrate competency to work within a pharmacy setting. While controversy still remains over the specific circumstances of what occurred that day in the pharmacy, the fact remains that a major medication error occurred, went uncaught and ultimately cost Emily Jerry her life. In the aftermath, local and national media attention exposed the gross inadequacies of pharmacy technician standards and regulations in Ohio (as well as across most of the United States).



Emily's Law

Kelly Jerry, the mother of Emily, became resolved to ensure that another family would never have to encounter such a tragic and preventable loss. In 2006, the National Pharmacy Technician Association (NPTA), based out of Houston, reached out to Kelly offering support, guidance and lobbying assistance. In 2008, with the support of Senator Tim Grendell (R), SB 203, now known as Emily's Law, was introduced in the Ohio State Senate.



NPTA's Chairman and CEO, Mike Johnston, CPhT, traveled on numerous occasions to Ohio to support Kelly Jerry and work with Senator Grendell in overcoming powerful, opposing lobbyist efforts and a few petty politicians. In a unique and unlikely series of circumstances, Grendell and Johnston were not only able to get all opposing parties on board with SB 203, but they were able to revise the bill, making it even stronger than the original draft.



The primary provisions of Emily's Law will require that pharmacy technicians be at least 18 years of age, register with the State Board of Pharmacy and pass a Board-approved competency exam; the legislation also includes specific provisions related to technician training/education, criminal records and approved disciplinary actions.



"Governor Strickland, Senator Grendell and the Ohio State Legislature have taken a significant step in protecting the citizens of Ohio from preventable medication errors today," explained Johnston, "and the National Pharmacy Technician Association is proud to have played a role in it."



While pharmacy technicians currently practicing in Ohio will have 210 days from the law's effective date to become in compliance with the new regulations, they will not be exempt from the statutes -- a common practice known as "grandfathering."



Ultimately, Emily's Law has become a reality due to the strength, courage and perseverance of Kelly Jerry and her family, as well as Senator Tim Grendell, the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy and the National Pharmacy Technician Association.



Governor Ted Strickland held an official Signing Ceremony of Emily's Law today in Columbus. Invited guests included Kelly Jerry and family, Senator Grendell and Mike Johnston.



For more information, visit www.pharmacytechnician.org



For information on NPTA's Chairman/CEO, Mike Johnston, visit www.rxmike.com



About the National Pharmacy Technician Association (NPTA)

The National Pharmacy Technician Association (NPTA), which was founded in 1999, is the largest non-profit trade association for pharmacy technicians in the world. The association represents over 30,000 individuals practicing in a variety of settings, such as retail pharmacy, health-system pharmacy, independent pharmacy, federal pharmacy services, purchasing, education and management. NPTA is the leading provider of accredited continuing education programs for Certified Pharmacy Technicians and offers advanced certifications in Sterile Products and Compounding. The association is committed to advancing the roles of pharmacy technicians to reduce medication errors and advocates for mandatory/standardized technician education, certification and registration. For more information on NPTA, call 888-247-8700 or visit http://www.pharmacytechnician.org/



SOURCE National Pharmacy Technician Association
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