This is second in a series of new 2024 laws affecting healthcare in California. 

SB 493: New Authority to Pharmacists

One of the key goals of the Accountable Care Act was to to increase utilization of professionals other than doctors.  One way to do that is to expand the authority of pharmacists to perform certain tests and to administer drugs.

This new law gives pharmacists new clout as “health care providers” who can now administer drugs by injection, provide training on drug therapy and disease management and prevention, furnish contraceptives, nicotine replacement products, medications recommended for travel outside the US, order certain tests, and initiate, adjust or discontinue drug therapy (but may not interfere with “as written”).

Devolving  physician authority to other professionals, including nurse practitioners, physician assistants and pharmacists, is an experiment with some risk.  It is clear that these professionals will be able to fill some gaps left by overly busy physicians.  However, there is likely to be less quality and the overall effectiveness of healthcare may follow.  The provision regarding the administration of international travel drugs will likely the pocket books of those physicians who derive economic benefit from this part of their practice.