Pharmacists should not be tested by their employers for use of illegal drugs. There also should be no pre-employment “screening” drug tests for R.Ph.s. That’s the position one of the American Pharmaceutical Association’s policy committees has urged the organization to endorse at its 137th annual meeting next month.
APhA policy committees also made recommendations on more than a dozen other topics, including legalization of illicit drugs, needle exchange programs, freedom of choice, pharmacy school curriculums, and reimbursement for unapproved drug uses.
More drug test: The most controversial issue before the APhA house of delegates is likely to be drug testing. An increasing number of firms are requiring drug tests, at least for job applicants.
Jack Eckerd Corp., for instance, has launched a mandatory drug testing program for employees. The Florida-based company believes it is the first major drug chain to do so. Under a pilot plan, workers in 350 of Eckerd’s stores must undergo periodic urine tests and all job applicants must be tested as a condition of employment. Every employee accepting a promotion also must be tested.
Effectiveness questioned: APhA’s policy committee on professional affairs expressed concern over the reliability of current drug tests. It also stated: “Routine, scheduled tests will not deter off-duty drug abuse, since employees can test negative by avoiding drug use before the test.”
The committee continued: “Mandatory drug testing, like polygraph testing, might work as a deterrent, but it arguably violates constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure, as well as common expectations of privacy. Thus, the committee supports policy opposing drug testing in the employment context.”
The policy committees also recommended that APhA adopt these positions: . Oppose decriminalization or legalization of the possession, use, sale, or distribution of drug substances for nonmedicinal purposes. . Study the effectiveness of pilot needle and syringe exchange programs for preventing the spread of human immunodeficiency virus and other infectious diseases. . Affirm a patient’s right to use any pharmacy without financial penalties or disincentives. Affirm a pharmacy’s right to participate in any third-party program under equal conditions and terms. . Work with schools, colleges of pharmacy, and other pharmacy organizations “to address differences between contemporary pharmacy practice and curriculum offerings.” . Support coverage by third-party payers of unapproved uses of drugs approved by the Food & Drug Administration.
Source Citation (MLA 7th Edition)
Conlan, Michael F. “APhA committee says No to job-related drug tests.” Drug Topics 19 Feb. 1990: 12. General OneFile. Web. 23 Mar. 2015.