California Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi has publicly criticized the California Board of Pharmacy for supporting legislation that allegedly conflicts with the Board of Pharmacy’s duty to regulate pharmacy operations and it’s duty to protect the public. As healthcare attorneys who defend pharmacists in disciplinary investigations and proceedings before the Office of Administrative Hearings, we are very concerned and interested in preserving impartiality of the Board of Pharmacy during the development of legislation making it easier for the public to get flu shots.
The Board of Pharmacy is endowed with the power to regulate the profession, discipline pharmacists who violate their duties, and to protect the public. The legislation in question is designed to expand the ability of pharmacists, especially independent operators, to provide flu vaccinations to Californians. Assemblywoman Hayashi has publicly stated, “Their (the Board of Pharmacy) legislative actions on behalf of the profession they are supposed to regulate have raised questions about industry influence, which compromises their role as a regulator.” Assemblywoman Hayashi has introduced legislation, Assembly Bill 2104 (AB 2104), designed to require the California Board of Pharmacy to secure approval from the California Department of Consumer Affairs before sponsoring legislation.
Currently, none of the California Boards (Board of Medicine, Board of Registered Nursing, Board of Dental Examiners, Board of Occupational Therapy, Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians, Board of Chiropractic Examiners, etc.) are required to seek approval by the Dept. of Consumer Affairs prior to sponsoring legislation. Other lawmakers criticize Assemblywoman Hayashi”s AB 2104 for only focusing on the Board of Pharmacy. “What’s good for one board should be good for all the boards.” said Bob Stern, President of the Center for Governmental Studies.
Assemblywoman is a former member of the California Board of Registered Nursing, which opposed the flu vaccine legislation, Assembly Bill 977 (AB 977) in 2009. Many nurses are still worried about the procedures for providing flu vaccinations to the public. AB 977 passed the California State Assembly in January 2010 and is currently pending action in the California State Senate.