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Imporant License Renewal Information

by Scott A. Meyers, Executive Vice President, RPh, MS, FASHP
January 15, 2012

Now’s the Time to Act!

At the end of the day on March 31, 2012 every pharmacist, pharmacy technician, pharmacy student and pharmacy license will expire.  If you are a licensee or registrant with the state of Illinois or the Pharmacist in Charge (PIC) for a pharmacy, you should read this article carefully.

Pharmacists must complete 30 hours of ACPE accredited continuing pharmacy education during the 24 months preceding the expiration date of the license, in accordance with Section 12 of the Pharmacy Practice Act!  The expiration date on pharmacist licenses is March 31, 2012 so that means that the 30 hours must be obtained between April 1, 2010 and March 31, 2012.  Any excess hours obtained above the 30 required hours during that period will not be carried over to the next renewal cycle nor may excess hours obtained during the previous renewal period be used for the current period.  Pharmacy technicians and pharmacy students are not required to obtain continuing education for registration renewal.

Pharmacists who are still short of continuing pharmacy education (CPE) contact hours may obtain them from a variety of sources including the ICHP Spring Meeting on March 23 and 24, 2012 in Normal Illinois (nine hours total of CPE credit available).  Online evaluation of each program for which CPE contact hours will be claimed should be completed immediately following the event and subsequent online renewal of the pharmacist’s license is strongly recommended.  

Online renewal of licenses or registrations is available to all pharmacists and to some pharmacy technicians; however, some pharmacy technicians will be required to renew via mail because they will be required to provide proof of certification (more on this in the next paragraph).  Anyone using the online renewal process will be charged an additional credit card fee, will be able to print a receipt but will not see their renewal status change with the online license look-up for 72 hours (three business days) and will not have the hard copy license mailed for at least one full week.  In other words, renewing online on March 31st is strongly discouraged and online renewal after Monday March 26th is not recommended.  This is not like filing taxes.  Pharmacy Investigators can and will require proof of active licensure if they show up at your place on April 1st or 2nd, and if they can’t find you online, you’re practicing without a license!

Pharmacy technicians who were originally registered after the 2009 renewal and prior to the 2010 will not be able to renew online as they will be required to provide proof of certification for continued registration with the State of Illinois.  Pharmacy technicians who do not become certified within two years of obtaining their initial pharmacy technician registration will not be permitted to renew as a pharmacy technician and must cease and desist working in a pharmacy until they become certified.  Those technicians should receive specific notification in the mail by late January.  Technicians who must provide proof of certification should file their renewal in very early March as the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation estimates that it will take at least three weeks to process these specific renewals based on workload and required documentation.

Pharmacy students will receive specific instructions on what is required for their registration renewal as a pharmacy student.  First and foremost is the requirement that the student be a student in a professional pharmacy degree program (not pharmacy technician training program of any sort). Pharmacy technician students do not qualify for this class of registration and should not apply for it under any circumstances.  The PIC should insure that all their pharmacy technicians have not done this!  Unfortunately, the online renewal or registration process does not have any safeguards to prevent errant registration in this manner, but most technicians are caught after the fact by Department staff review.

Because pharmacy licenses also expire on the March 31st, 2012, all PICs are encouraged to renew as soon as you receive notice in the mail, and if no notice is received by mid-February, to call the Department to determine if there is a problem.  In addition, now is probably a good time to examine each pharmacy’s controlled substance license to determine when it expires and load a reminder into your calendar.  Applying for renewal of the pharmacy license on March 31st or even during the last week of March is strongly discouraged as mentioned before.

I hope you find this information helpful and please feel free to contact me with questions if you need clarification at scottm@ichpnet.org.  Please share this information with all your staff and show those who are not ICHP members that this is just one small example of why they should be!  Now is the time to act!