Proposed Amendments to IL Pharmacy Practice Act Do Not Align with Task Force Recommendations, Local 727 Maintains Further Reform Necessary

| October 31, 2019

Earlier this month, the Illinois Pharmaceutical Task Force submitted its final report and recommendations for modifying the Illinois Pharmacy Practice Act (PPA) to the state legislature.  Illinois State Representative Michael Zalewski last week appears to have used the Task Force’s recommendations to draft and submit an official proposal for amending the PPA to the Illinois House of Representatives.  While Zalewski’s proposed amendments largely align with the report’s recommendations, there appear to be areas where the state representative’s amendments depart from the Task Force’s carefully chosen and agreed upon language.

Among the inconsistencies are (1) alterations in recommended language that appear to place additional job duties on head pharmacists or Pharmacists in Charge (PICs) to train pharmacy technicians; (2) changes in recommended language that appear to broaden the Task Force’s proposed limitations on advertising and solicitation; and (3) the addition of new language that was not presented or agreed upon by the Task Force.  The proposal also fails to include a recommendation from the Task Force on the introduction of a requirement for employers to establish a Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) Program.  According to the Task Force’s final report, the establishment and use of a CQI Program is essential and will allow the State to ensure employers are maintaining effective error records, which in turn may be used to assess pharmacies’ practices and improve the quality of care provided to patients.

After reaching out to express the Union’s concerns over the deviations from the Task Force’s carefully crafted language, as well as the omission of the requirement for a CQI Program, Representative Zalewski has agreed to work with Teamsters Local 727 and Teamsters Joint Council 25 to improve upon his initial bill.

“Thank you to Representative Zalewski for hearing our concerns and agreeing to work with us.  We’re grateful for the opportunity to partner with him on this important issue,” said John Coli, Jr., Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 727.

Local 727 is also calling upon state officials to seize this opportunity and remedy retail pharmacy-specific issues that were not adequately addressed by the Task Force.  As made clear by the dissents found in the Task Force Report, further amendments to the PPA that are needed in the retail pharmacy setting include: (1) a limit on retail pharmacists’ workdays to no more than eight hours; (2) having at least one pharmacy technician on duty at all times; (3) providing a separate breakroom, so as to guarantee uninterrupted rest breaks; and (4) a triple-pay penalty for days during which the retail employer fails to provide a pharmacist with the opportunity to take an uninterrupted break.

“The Task Force’s recommendations do not go far enough,” said Coli.  “Our state must act now and address the critical issues facing retail pharmacists today.  Critical issues that threaten both the safety of workers and the public.”

Local 727 is encouraging all members to reach out to their Illinois State Representatives to urge them to support the Union’s additional proposed amendments.  To find your State Representative, including his or her phone number, email, and mailing address, click here.

“The push to drastically reform the PPA, as well as to establish the Task Force, were a direct result of union retail pharmacists speaking up and alerting the public to safety issues in many of our Illinois pharmacies.  If we stand together once more, we can achieve true and effective change,” added Coli.

Local 727 will continue to update members as the fight for pharmacy reform advances in the Illinois General Assembly.

Members with questions should contact Local 727 Osco Business Representative Zach Frankenbach at (847) 696-7500 or [email protected] or Local 727 CVS Business Representative Melissa Senatore at (847) 696-7500 or [email protected]

Nothing in this article should be read as the union’s waiver of any legal argument, position or grievance(s), or as a waiver of any rights, arguments, or defenses under any contract, collective bargaining agreement, or applicable law.  The union does not forfeit its right to make any and all supplemental arguments.

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Category: PHARMACY

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