SUMMARY OF: A Sunset Review of the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, Division of Occupational Licensing, Board of Pharmacy, September 3, 2004.

Purpose of the Report

In accordance with Title 24 and Title 44 of the Alaska Statutes, we have reviewed the activities of the Board of Pharmacy (BOP). As required by AS 44.66.050(a), the legislative committees of reference are to consider this report during the legislative oversight process involved in determining if the board should be reestablished. Currently, AS 08.03.010(c)(15) states that the board will terminate on June 30, 2005. If the legislature does not extend the termination date for the board, BOP will have one year to conclude its administrative operations.

Report Conclusions

In our opinion, the termination date for the Board of Pharmacy should be extended. The board is safeguarding the public interest by ensuring the competence of individuals who hold themselves out to the public as pharmacists, pharmacist interns, and pharmacist technicians through reasonable licensing and regulatory requirements. The board also has a role in the regulation of pharmacies, drug rooms1, and wholesale distributors.

The board adopted regulatory changes that have improved the board’s oversight process and promoted more effective regulation of licensed pharmacists and pharmacies.

Alaska Statute 08.03.010(c)(15) requires the Board of Pharmacy be terminated on June 30, 2005. Under AS 08.03.020, the board has a one-year period to administratively conclude its affairs. We recommend the Legislature extend the board’s termination date to June 30, 2010.

Findings and Recommendations

Recommendation No. 1

The Division of Occupational Licensing, in conjunction with the Board of Pharmacy, should increase licensing fees to eliminate the board’s current and projected operating deficits.

At the end of FY 03, the board had an operating deficit of $65,100. Based on expenditures and revenues to date, we project that it is likely the board will be in a deficit again at the end of FY 04. The major contributing factor to the deficit is that board costs have exceeded license renewal fee revenues without the board and Division of Occupational Licensing (OccLic) putting in place the necessary licensing and other fee adjustments. Alaska Statute 08.01.065(c) requires fees for an occupation be set at a level to approximate the related regulatory costs.

Although BOP did increase licensing fees in June 2004, another increase is necessary to eliminate the deficit and to meet annual operating costs of the board. Accordingly, we recommend the department and the board review the regulatory costs and licensing fees to ensure BOP fees are sufficient eliminate the deficit and to meet annual operating costs of the board and regulation of the profession.

Recommendation No. 2

The Division of Occupational Licensing should rescind the requirement to provide a photograph with each license application.

The Division of Occupational Licensing has eliminated questions on the licensing application requiring personal information. However, a notarized photograph is still required to accompany the licensing application.

OccLic has continued with the requirement because of the stipulations made by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP). When applying for a license, an individual must also submit a NABP application to BOP. In the past, NABP required OccLic staff to compare the photo on the NABP form to the photograph submitted with the state application. OccLic staff indicates they are not sure this is still a requirement.

If the NABP photo comparison requirement is still in place, we recommend OccLic continue to solicit photographs for that purpose. However, the photographs should be kept in a separate file from one reviewed by the board. This separation would eliminate a factor that could have an impact on an individual receiving a license outside of technical qualifications. Taking such action provides greater assurance that the board will consistently be in compliance with equal employment opportunity statutes and regulations.

Footnote 1 – The term drug room refers to a situation, which requires licensure from the Board of Pharmacy, where an institutional facility that does not maintain a pharmacy but prepares and administers prescription drugs from bulk supplies for patients receiving treatment within the facility.