As a pharmacist, you're already familiar with the pivotal role you play in patients’ health journeys, but have you ever wondered about the organization that governs the profession and ensures you can impact your patients?
Enter the Board of Pharmacy (BOP), an often-overlooked but essential resource for pharmacists all around the country.
The Board of Pharmacy contains both a national chapter (the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP)) and state- and territory-wide chapters. As an organization, the Board of Pharmacy provides guidance, guidelines, and resources for all pharmacists: from licensing to professional development.
Learn more about the Board of Pharmacy and how it can help you in your practice.
What is the Board of Pharmacy?
The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was founded in 1904.
The goals of NABP, according to its website, are to “help support patient and prescription drug safety, through examinations that assess pharmacist competency, pharmacist licensure transfer and verification services, and various pharmacy accreditation programs.”
Currently, NABP governs boards of pharmacy in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It also oversees associate member boards in the Bahamas and 10 Canadian provinces.
It’s clear, then, that the Board of Pharmacy’s influence and impact is far-reaching.
What Does the Board of Pharmacy Do?
NABP — along with state boards of pharmacy — offers a variety of accreditation, advancement, and professional development opportunities for its members. Here are just a few things each chapter does:
- Gives examinations: NABP governs all pharmacy-related exams, licenses, and certifications. These exams are intended to assess pharmacists’ competency to practice pharmacy and provide the best possible patient care. Exams include the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) and the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE).
- Grants licenses: After exams are completed, NABP also awards licenses. It also offers a license transfer program, in which pharmacists looking to practice in a new state can easily transfer their licenses without additional administrative or financial burdens. Finally, NABP offers an Emergency Passport Program where state boards can grant temporary emergency licensure safely and efficiently for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, pharmacist interns, and businesses looking to aid in state and national emergencies.
- Performs inspections: NABP and state boards perform a variety of inspections to ensure compliance, safety, and quality patient care in all pharmacies. These inspections are also intended to satisfy inspection requirements for state agencies or private entities. Learn more about inspections here.
- Offers accreditation programs: For pharmacists looking to go further in their practice, NABP offers several accreditation programs. These include community pharmacy, compounding pharmacy, digital pharmacy, DMEPOS pharmacy, healthcare merchant, home infusion therapy pharmacy, and specialty pharmacy accreditations. Digital pharmacy and healthcare merchant accreditations can be completed online. Learn more about each accreditation program here.
- Provides ongoing support: Aside from its responsibilities related to licensing, accreditation, and inspections, NABP provides legislative advocacy, educational opportunities, practice-specific resources, and networking tools for pharmacists on both the national and state levels. Learn more about NABP resources here and find local resources at your state BOP website.
How to Get Involved with the Board of Pharmacy
If you’re looking to be an active participant in either your national or state board of pharmacy, there are a few ways you can get started. These include:
- Attend NABP’s Annual Meeting: NABP’s Annual Meeting brings together pharmacy board members, staff, and other pharmacy stakeholders to take an active role in protecting public health. During the meeting, members elect NABP Executive Committee officers and members, as well as discuss and vote on policies via resolutions and guide the direction of the Association. Attendees can also participate in educational sessions about current industry topics and issues and have opportunities to network. The 2024 Annual Meeting will take place in May in Fort Worth, TX. Learn more here.
- Attend state-wide meetings and events: In addition to the national meeting, attend your state board of pharmacy’s annual meetings, events, and opportunities. This can be a great way to advocate for state-specific issues affecting your pharmacy and network with other professionals in your area. Check with your local BOP website to find more information.
- Join a task force or standing committee: NABP creates single-issue task forces each year at the Annual Meeting. Some committees you can apply for are the Committee on Constitution and Bylaws, the Committee on Law Enforcement/Legislation, and the Advisory Committee on Examinations meet annually. Submit an application here.
- Participate in a forum: Forums from NABP and state boards of pharmacy offer an opportunity to share ongoing public health programs and initiatives that may help other boards. The closed sessions include panel discussions and networking opportunities. Discover upcoming forums here.
- Network on social media: You can find NABP on social media on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube at “National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.”
The Board of Pharmacy is a powerful resource for you and your pharmacy.
It provides necessary licensing, accreditation, and inspections. It also offers support in the form of education and advocacy.
If you want to make an impact at the local, state, and national levels, the NABP and your state pharmacy board are great resources to have on your side.
Find a way to get involved in either of these chapters and start working with other professionals dedicated to advancing the field of pharmacy.