Requires Supervision of Licensed Pharmacist
A bill designed to help ease healthcare delivery by allowing pharmacy interns and externs to administer vaccines and injectable medications while gaining, under supervision, critical hands-on training, was signed into law Monday.
Although state law had allowed licensed pharmacists to give immunizations to patients over age 18, and the influenza vaccine to patients seven and older, pharmacy interns and pharmacy externs were not allowed to administer vaccines to any patient. Similarly, state law had allowed a licensed pharmacist to administer certain injectable medications if the licensed pharmacist was certified and pre-approved by the New Jersey State Board of Pharmacy, but did not permit a pharmacy intern or extern to administer injectable medications.
The law (formerly bill A-342/A-343) allows pharmacy interns and externs to administer vaccines, injectable medications, biologicals and immunizations to patients by injectable or needle free delivery methods, but only under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist. Pharmacy-based immunization services have increased influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations by millions nationwide since immunizations became more commonplace in the community pharmacy setting. Trained pharmacists have been administering vaccines in New Jersey for over a decade.
“While this law looks to provide more options for patients needing vaccines and immunizations, it does not compromise the necessary education needed to administer them,” said the law’s primary sponsor, Assemblywoman Nancy J. Pinkin (D-Middlesex). “Pharmacy interns and externs still need to meet the same requirements as pharmacists to administer them, specifically, being educated and qualified as determined by the Board of Medical Examiners. This is yet another positive step that we can take to help streamline the health care delivery process, because it allows us to serve patients and consumers more effectively and in a timely manner.”
The law also reduces the age for pediatric flu immunizations to be administered without a prescription from an authorized provider from 12 to 10 years old, yet still requires consent from the patient’s parent or legal guardian.
“This law allows patients to get the medication that they need under the care of a pharmacy extern or intern as well as a licensed pharmacist,” said Giblin (D-Essex, Passaic). “Such an environment of care is extremely beneficial for patients.”
“Pharmacists are often overwhelmed with patient volume,” said Jasey (D-Essex, Morris). “This law provides a means of easing that load while not adversely impacting patient care.”
The Assembly approved the law by a vote of 78-0 and the Senate by a vote of 39-0 on October 29.