California adds rules to 'No Pharmacist Left Alone' law

California's board of pharmacy approved the addition of new regulations to its "No Pharmacist Left Alone Law," which requires pharmacies to ensure pharmacists aren't the only person working in a pharmacy, according to JD Supra, a company that provides legal information. 

The state originally passed the law in 2018 to address concerns of inadequate staffing in community pharmacies. Inadequate staffing impairs pharmacists' judgment and ability to do their jobs, and endangers public health because it leaves pharmacists unable to do their job safely, according to JD Supra.

Before the law was passed, pharmacists had to perform a number of nonpharmacist functions, including staffing cash registers, cleaning bathrooms and taking out the trash. 

The new regulations approved by the board require that when a pharmacist is the only employee in a pharmacy that is open to the public, the pharmacy must make another employee available to assist the pharmacist. That employee must: 

  • Be identified to the pharmacist
  • Be able to perform duties that non-icensed pharmacy personnel do 
  • Be qualified to have access to controlled substances
  • Be able to assist the pharmacist within five minutes of the request 

The rules don't require the employee to work in the pharmacy at all times that it is open. 

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