Board of Pharmacy’s Community Pharmacy Staffing Regulation Takes Effect


By Anna Schwartz

On September 15, 2020, OAL approved the Board of Pharmacy’s proposed regulations on community pharmacy staffing. The regulations add section 1714.3, Title 16 of the CCR to establish standards for community pharmacy staffing levels. The regulation implements SB 1442 (Wiener) (Chapter 569, Statutes of 2018), which added section 4113.5 to the Business and Professions Code to prohibit a community pharmacy from requiring a pharmacist to engage in the practice of pharmacy while the pharmacy is open to the public unless another employee is present and working in the pharmacy, or an employee of the establishment is made available to assist the pharmacist. According to the bill’s sponsor, the United Food & Commercial Workers, because many community pharmacies are not the primary focus of the business where the pharmacy is located, it is common for a pharmacist to be the only employee assigned to the pharmacy area. [24:1 CRLR 91–92]

As stated in the initial statement of reasons, the goal of the regulation is to ensure pharmacists do not have to work alone, since they often must perform non-pharmacy functions that may distract from their licensed functions and affect their professional judgment. The Board’s regulation outlines the criteria a pharmacy must meet to comply with the statute, such as the process for pharmacists to request assistants so as to not work alone, and the training necessary for pharmacy employees to fill the role of an assistant.

The Board approved the proposed text on July 25, 2019. The 45-day public comment period began on February 28, 2020, and ended on April 13, 2020. However, due to Governor Gavin Newsom’s Declaration of Emergency during the COVID-19 pandemic, on April 13, 2020, the Board extended the comment period through April 30, 2020. The regulation was filed with the Secretary of State and took effect on September 15, 2020.


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