UFCW Local 135

New “No Pharmacist Left Alone” Regulations

UFCW member pharmacists have won a victory in their campaign to protect patients and public health! After hearing from UFCW member pharmacists, the California Board of Pharmacy adopted regulations that reinforce standards set out by SB 1442, the No Pharmacist Left Alone Law, written by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco). The nation-leading, pro-patient regulation, drafted in response to a petition by UFCW, will help protect patients by requiring stores to make a designated, qualified staff member available to help pharmacists within five minutes of the pharmacists’ request. These new regulations couldn’t have happened without our member pharmacists’ witness and testimony, grassroots advocacy, and tireless dedication to their patients that inspired the bill and fueled the drive to implement and enforce it. These member pharmacists have stood out, going above and beyond their normal duties to ensure their public health role is not compromised by short staffing, especially during the COVID-19 public health crisis. “It was heartbreaking to hear from pharmacist after pharmacist who testified that chronic understaffing in large retail chains often left pharmacists to work alone, compromising patient safety,” said Senator Scott Wiener. “I knew that California must do better, and I am proud the Board of Pharmacy listened and took action to protect patients by strengthening enforcement of SB 1442, which set a higher, and very clear staffing standard so pharmacists, health professionals, could focus on their core responsibility – keeping patients safe.” SB 1442 was signed into law in 2018 in response to chronic understaffing at retail pharmacies that often forced pharmacists to work alone for hours on end, compromising patient safety. In a time of public health crisis, retail stores continue to demand pharmacists perform multiple tasks, from dispensing medication to patients, to ringing up prescriptions and other store items, to clean the pharmacy bathrooms and taking out the trash. These new regulations will finally provide the procedures necessary to create a healthy pharmacy environment for all. For more information on the new Community Pharmacy Staffing regulation please visit here.