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Stop Dangerous Pharmacies Act is signed into California Law

AB 1286 creates first in the nation medication error reporting requirements for chain pharmacies and protects workers and patients in these settings

For immediate release:
  • Nate Allbee
  • (415) 756-0561

Sacramento – Assemblymember Matt Haney’s (D-San Francisco) “Stop Dangerous Pharmacies Act” (AB 1286) was signed into law by Governor Newsom today. The bill creates first in the nation regulations for corporate chain pharmacies, such as CVS and Walgreens, to crack down on the nationwide problem of understaffed chain pharmacies making dangerous medication errors. Under this new law, chain pharmacies will be required to report all medication errors and staff the pharmacy with at least one clerk or pharmacy technician fully dedicated to performing pharmacy-related services.

“Medication errors are serious problems that can lead to illness, disability, or even death,” said Haney. “California pharmacies are making millions of errors a year – but they aren’t required to report any of them. This bill shows that we take Californians’ lives and health seriously with these common sense steps to stop medication error deaths from happening.”

A workforce survey conducted by the California State Board of Pharmacy showed nearly 91% of pharmacists felt that staffing wasn’t high enough to ensure safety in the pharmacy. Additionally, the Journal of the American Medical Association has reported that nearly 46% of patients cannot understand the information listed on their prescription drug labels. This is problematic because the Board’s survey also showed that 83% of pharmacists felt they did not have sufficient time to provide appropriate consultations to patients to make sure they understand how to safely take their medications. 

Currently, California law requires at least one employee to be available to help the pharmacist in order to prevent fatigue, distraction, and other conditions that may interfere with the pharmacist's ability to provide adequate patient care – but pharmacists surveys show that this law is not often enforced. Furthermore, these staffing decisions are most commonly made by the chain store management that has no medical or pharmaceutical training.

AB 1286 empowers the pharmacists to make these important staffing decisions in dangerous situations where the work environment is compromised due to inadequate staffing.

“Today is a historic day for the California State Board of Pharmacy and California patients,” said President of the Board, Seung Oh, PharmD. “AB 1286 will establish the first in the nation revolutionary patient protection measures that will aim to truly improve patient care. The Board is grateful to Assemblymember Haney and Governor Newsom for sharing the Board’s vision and commitment to ensuring safe and effective pharmaceutical care for all Californians.”