New California Bill Expands Pharmacists’ Role

Elizabeth Davis
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On October 1, provider status legislation SB 493 was signed into California law, expanding the role of pharmacists as health care providers. The law will go into effect this January 1, 2014.

What does this mean for you if you live in California?

First, pharmacists will now be able to both prescribe and dispense certain medications. These include hormonal birth control, smoking cessation meds, and any standard prescriptions for international travelers.

Pharmacists will also be able to administer some drugs that you would previously have needed to go to a doctor’s office or clinic to receive.

In addition, the law aims to include pharmacists as health care providers, and as a bigger part of your health care team. The law will make it easier for your pharmacist to work with your doctors in coordinating your prescriptions, ordering tests to monitor effectiveness and side effects, and adjusting your prescription as necessary.

What were the rules before?

Currently, under state law, pharmacists can administer flu shots and some other vaccines, and can dispense emergency contraception.

Why is SB 493 good for you?

Pharmacists are typically more available, and less expensive than a visit to your primary care doctor. This change could save you money and time.

Your pharmacist is a valuable resource for managing your prescriptions and your care, particularly if you’re taking medication to manage a long-term condition or coordinating multiple prescriptions. Expanding their role should improve your care.

For more information, including the full text of the bill, see the official SB 493 page here.

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