San Francisco Chronicle Examines Troubles Faced by State Pharmacy Board
The San Francisco Chronicle today examines the Board of Pharmacy, which is "struggling to keep pace" with a rise in complaints over prescription errors and other mistakes by pharmacies. The board, which employs about 20 inspectors and is charged with tracking 6,000 pharmacies statewide, suspended "routine inspections" between 1991 and 2001 because of a "backlog of complaints" but reinstated inspections on July 1, 2001. However, a state audit last year found that the board was one of the "slowest state agencies" and that it exhibited "gross inefficiency." The audit cautioned that the board's poor performance could lead to "mistakes that affect the health and safety of consumers." A review of the board's activities by the Chronicle found that, even in the "most serious cases," the board often takes up to two years or more to resolve the situation. Patricia Harris, executive officer of the board, said the board is "doing the best job [it] can" considering the "strict budgetary constraints" it is under. Harris added that with limited resources, the board must balance investigating complaints with regular inspections of pharmacies (Bonilla, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.