The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) has said the ultimate regulatory sanction of pharmacy technicians should represent “a meaningful loss of income, career damage and loss of status or reputation” if the public is to be protected.

In the second chapter of its report on pharmacy technicians, the PDA pulled no punches having spent the first chapter trying to draw clear distinctions between technicians and pharmacists amid concerns the government is keen on technicians overseeing the supply of medicines.

The latest chapter was by no means a critique of technicians – the PDA highlighted that pharmacy technicians employed in community pharmacy earn the lowest of any type of healthcare technician examined while the average annual salary of a community pharmacy technician is comparable to a “general customer service occupation such as retail cashier, checkout operator and travel agent.”

However, the PDA made four recommendations in the second instalment of its report.

Firstly, that any register or public list of pharmacy technicians “be underpinned by a suitably structured career framework for pharmacy technicians to support the roles of pharmacists, linked to pay banding at a significantly higher level than is currently the case in community pharmacy.”

It also called for “regulatory traction” of technicians to be improved via an ultimate sanction which should “represent a meaningful loss of income, career damage and loss of status or reputation” and urged pharmacy bodies to “consider whether regulation of pharmacy technicians is likely to be effective given the current conditions prevailing in community pharmacy.”

Lastly, the PDA said pharmacy technicians needed to become “a notifiable occupation” so any technician involved in criminal activity can be reported by the police to the General Pharmaceutical Council “as a matter of course.”

When contacted by Pharmacy Business, the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK said it would respond once the entire report has been published.

However, APTUK president Tess Fenn told Pharmacy Business: “The PDA’s second chapter provides interesting generalised commentary that APTUK will consider, along with the report’s methodology, data, currency of data and evidence in their analysis and response to the full PDA report when this is published.”