Release: WSU and Albertsons Companies Partner to be First in U.S. to Expand Pharmacy Technician Role for Increased Patient Access to Health Care


BOISE, Idaho, April 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — The Washington State University (WSU) College of Pharmacy and Albertsons Companies, with permission from the Idaho Board of Pharmacy, collaborated on the first pilot program in the U.S. to expand patient access to health care services through immunization training for pharmacy technicians. The pilot led to the first law to allow technicians this expanded capability and to an Albertsons Companies pharmacy technician being the first technician in the nation to administer an immunization.

The Idaho Pharmacy Technician Immunization Training Pilot was developed by WSU College of Pharmacy to address some of society’s most complex issues, specifically efforts surrounding developing practical solutions to challenging problems in health care delivery, health care access and disease prevention.

The pilot started in December 2016 with WSU working with the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and Idaho Board of Pharmacy. Through a shared connection, Albertsons Companies became engaged in the program and provided a grant to develop and deliver the four-hour professional education to interested pharmacy technicians in Spokane, Washington and Boise, Idaho.

“WSU faculty colleagues Kyle Frazier, Linda Garrelts-MacLean, and I trained 25 Albertsons and Safeway technicians and are collecting data on how many immunizations they give between December 2016 and May 2017,” said Kimberly McKeirnan, Clinical Assistant Professor, WSU College of Pharmacy. “The data collected will be used to show how expanding the number of health professionals trained to immunize patients can increase immunization rates, better utilize the skills of pharmacy technicians, and ease the time burden on pharmacists.”

In March 2017, this pilot prompted the state of Idaho to pass a law, the first of its kind in the United States, to allow Idaho pharmacy technicians to undergo the pharmacy board-approved training to administer immunizations to pharmacy patients.

“Pharmacy technicians are integral to our business,” said Mark Panzer, SVP of Pharmacy, Health and Wellness.  “We are proud to embrace the changing role of pharmacy technicians and partner with WSU to expand access to health services in Idaho. We couldn’t be prouder than when our very own Samantha Thompson, a Safeway Pharmacy Technician in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, became the first pharmacy technician in the country to administer an immunization.”

More training is currently planned for other technicians in Idaho who are interested in pursuing this additional responsibility.

About Albertsons Companies
Contact: Jennifer Rapley

Albertsons Companies is one of the largest food and drug retailers in the United States, with both a strong local presence and national scale. We operate stores across 35 states and the District of Columbia under 19 well-known banners including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen and Carrs. Albertsons Companies is committed to helping people across the country live better lives by making a meaningful difference, neighborhood by neighborhood. In 2016 alone, along with the Albertsons Companies Foundation, the company gave nearly $300 million in food and financial support. These efforts helped millions of people in the areas of hunger relief, education, cancer research and treatment, programs for people with disabilities and veterans outreach.

The Washington State University, College of Pharmacy
Kimberly McKeirnan, WSU Pharmacotherapy Clinical Assistant Professor | 509-358-7720

Lori Maricle, WSU College of Pharmacy Communications | 509-368-6679

The WSU College of Pharmacy was founded in 1891 and has been accredited since 1912. We are a graduate and professional education college. Our main degree programs include the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) and Doctorate in Pharmaceutical Sciences (Ph.D.).

The College relocated from Pullman to the WSU Health Sciences campus in Spokane in December 2013, but has been heavily involved in the Spokane health care community since the 1970s through our internships, experiential rotations, and pharmacy residency programs. We currently have just over 500 student pharmacists and graduate students, and about 2,950 alumni. As of 2014, the WSU College of Pharmacy is ranked 35 out of 97 ranked pharmacy schools in the country. 2016 marked the college’s 125th Anniversary.