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California State Board of Pharmacy

About the Board of Pharmacy

What is the California State Board of Pharmacy?

The California Board of Pharmacy was formed in 1891 to function as a state health regulatory agency. In 1971, the Board became part of the Department of Consumer Affairs, which is part of the executive branch of the government of the State of California.

The Board of Pharmacy consists of 13 members who are appointed to four-year terms. Members can serve only two terms. The governor appoints seven registered pharmacists who reside in different parts of the state and four public members. The Senate Rules Committee and the Speaker of the Assembly each appoint one public member. Public members are not licensed by this Board.

Members of the Board appoint the executive officer who directs the Board's operations and oversees staff, including inspectors who are registered pharmacists.

The Board is totally self-funded and receives no tax money from the General Revenue Fund of the State of California. Funds necessary for its operation are generated primarily through its licensing fees.

What is the Board's purpose?

The Board's purpose is to serve the public by:

  • Protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the people of California with integrity and honesty;
  • Advocating the highest quality of affordable pharmaceutical care;
  • Providing the best available information on pharmaceutical care; and
  • Promoting education, wellness and quality of life.

How does the Board accomplish its purpose?

The Board accomplishes its purpose by ensuring that pharmacists provide patients with pharmaceutical care by dispensing information; by protecting patients from drug misadventures; and by taking responsibility for therapeutic outcomes resulting from their decisions.

The Board further ensures that:

  • The quality skills of those entering pharmacy practice are maintained by requiring candidates for the Board's licensing examination to have graduated from accredited pharmacy schools and have completed a minimum of 1,500 hours of internship in both community and hospital pharmacies. Additionally, continuing education is required for pharmacist license renewal.
  • The Board's enforcement of regulations is another way in which the Board seeks to protect the public from the misuse and diversion of prescription drugs from pharmacies.
  • The Board's enforcement efforts are focused toward the improvement of therapeutic outcomes and compliance with the highest standards of pharmaceutical care.

Who does the Board regulate?

The Board of Pharmacy regulates the pharmacy practice of pharmacists, interns, pharmacy technicians, and exemptees (those who are involved with the wholesale or manufacturer of drugs and medical devices, but not required to hold a pharmacist license).

The Board also regulates all types of firms that distribute prescription drugs and devices in California, including community pharmacies and those located in hospitals, clinics, home and community support services facilities, and out-of-state mail order pharmacies that fill prescriptions and deliver them in California.

How does the Board resolve complaints?

A primary way the Board protects the public is through the investigation of consumer inquiries and complaints involving the pharmaceutical care patients have received. The Board advocates and enforces laws that protect the health and safety of patients and encourages the submission of complaints and inquiries from the public.

Each complaint is evaluated to determine if the complaint involves a pharmacist, pharmacy, or firm regulated by the Board, and whether the complaint involves a violation of California Pharmacy Law.

If the complaint is within the Board's jurisdiction, the complaint may be referred to an inspector who will contact you for additional information about the complaint, or a consumer services representative may resolve your complaint.

If the complaint is not within Board's jurisdiction, it may be closed with no action taken or referred to another agency. In any case, you will be advised of the Board's action on your complaint.

Many complaints are closed with a verbal or written warning that becomes part of the licensee's record. However, a complaint could result in disciplinary action being taken against the licensee. The action may range from reprimand to revocation of the license with loss of the right to practice or operate a pharmacy.

The Board does not represent the person making the complaint individually and does not seek restitution or money damages on behalf of any individual.

How do I file a complaint with the Board?

You may submit your complaint electronically through the Board's On-Line Complaint Form or complete a Consumer Complaint Form and send it to:

Board of Pharmacy
Attention: Complaint Unit
2720 Gateway Oaks Drive, Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95833

To assist the board in evaluating your complaint, provide as many details of the incident as possible. Additionally, include copies of any documentation you may have that relates to the complaint, such as prescriptions, invoices, or correspondence.

If your complaint is regarding a dispensing error or a prescription container that is incorrectly labeled, keep the container and its contents for future reference, if possible.

Will I be told of the status and resolution of my complaint?

The Board will notify you in writing when the complaint is resolved unless you inform us that you would prefer not to receive written notification.

However, no information may be released if an investigation relating to the complaint is in progress.

How does the Board discipline pharmacists or pharmacies?

The Board may reprimand, cancel, suspend, or revoke the license of a pharmacist or pharmacy that is found to have violated pharmacy or drug laws.

During disciplinary proceedings, licensees may be represented by an attorney and are given an opportunity to demonstrate their compliance with the law. Once the Board has taken action against the licensee, he or she has the right to appeal the action to state courts.