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DEFINING “PHARMACY TECHNICIAN”
Debbie L Wilson

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BACKGROUND: Legal definitions of “pharmacy technician ”vary by state. Also, many pharmacy organizations have definitions of “pharmacy technician. ”There is no consensus on the definition.

OBJECTIVE: To explore the legal definitions of a pharmacy technician and use of the term “professional judgment ”in those definitions and develop an empirically and theoretically based definition of a pharmacy technician.

METHODS: Definitions of a pharmacy technician from the state statutes and regulations were found using LexisNexis State Capital and entered into an N-4 Classic database.The database was then coded through an iterative process of content analysis.A definition was developed using the content analysis and literature- based theory.

RESULTS: Definitions were found for 42 states (84%). Five main concepts were found to exist in the definitions: credentialing, designation, functions, practice site,and supervision. An empiric and theoretically based definition of a pharmacy technician was developed.

CONCLUSIONS: Statutory and regulatory definitions of a pharmacy technician tend to define technicians in terms that preserve the dispensing role for pharmacists. Definitions of a pharmacy technician should focus on the types of services pharmacy technicians provide and the types of credentials they must have, rather than what they may not do and who they are not. The use of the term “professional judgment ”in defining a pharmacy technician lacks precision and is therefore not helpful in defining “pharmacy technician.”

J Pharm Technol 2004;20:96-105.

ACPE Universal Program Number: 407-000-04-052-H04

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