Registration of Pharmacy Technical Assistants and Pharmacy Technicians
On 1 July 2011 the South African Pharmacy Council published Board Notice 123 of 2011 in Government Gazette No 34428 which Board Notice identified Council’s intentions to introduce two new cadres of pharmacy support personnel into the registers: these cadres being the Pharmacy Technical Assistant and the Pharmacy Technician.
In 2012, Council requested the Medicines Control Council to propose an amendment to Section 22A of the Medicines and Related Substances Act, 101 of 1965, to replace the term pharmacist’s assistant with pharmacy support personnel. Almost four years later, the first pharmacy technical assistants and pharmacy technician graduates are entering the world of pharmacy amidst legislative challenges surrounding their registration and access to medicines.
In terms of Section 22A of the Medicines Act, only pharmacist’s assistants working under the personal supervision of a pharmacist may have access to and assist in the dispensing of medicines from schedule 1 and above. In the absence of any amendments to Section 22A, this presents a challenge to the legality of PTA and PT graduates being able to work in a pharmacy and have access to scheduled 1 and above medicines and substances. In terms of the Medicines Act, a pharmacist’s assistant is defined as a person registered as a pharmacist’s assistant in terms of the Pharmacy Act, 53 of 1974. Therefore in order to circumvent the fact that Section 22A prevents a PTA or PT having access to medicines, Council resolved that a PTA or PT graduate shall be registered with Council as a pharmacist’s assistant (post-basic).
In addition, the amendments to Regulations relating to pharmacy education and training, pharmacy practice or the registration of persons and maintenance of registers have not as yet been published by the Minister of Health, which means that the scope of practice for a PTA and PT have not been established in terms of Regulations and neither have the registration requirements been provided for. For this reason, and until such time as the Regulations have been amended, PTA and PT graduates will be registered as Pharmacist’s Assistants (post-basic). On publication of the amendments for implementation to the abovementioned Regulations, PTA and PT graduates from providers who have obtained accreditation to offer such qualification/s will be registered properly under the category PTA and PT defined as pharmacist’s assistants and practice their scope of practice.
While the Council regrets the temporary inconvenience that it is being placed on the PTA and PT graduates, the Council shall, as soon as the relevant legislation is published, notify PTA and PT graduates of the relevant upgrading to the new cadres.
Should you require any further information herein, please contact the Office of the Registrar