New Regulations Bring Change for Iowa Pharmacists


Wholesale drug distributors are important for anyone dealing with a medical condition. Pharmacists and pharmacist technicians are the professionals who handle such important medications that can help deal with a variety of medical conditions. The Iowa Pharmacy Board recently enacted new regulations with ARC 3974C requiring all wholesale drug distributors to post a license bond or a letter of credit for $100,000 to protect the consumers who depend on these individuals to maintain their health.

Wholesale drug distributors may be excluded from the requirement if the distributor’s annual gross receipts in the previous tax year were $10 million or less, in which case posting a $25,000 bond or letter of credit is acceptable. If the distributor has already posted a bond in another state in which it does business, that will also be accepted.

What is the difference between a license bond and a letter of credit?

A commercial license bond, which is also known as a license and permit bond, refers to a type of surety bond. It is often required by a legal entity such as the state, for companies and individuals as a way to ensure they follow all regulations associated with attaining or maintaining licenses or permits. There are many different types of commercial license bonds, dependent on the type of work completed by the individual or business.

Surety bonds for pharmacists guarantee payment of taxes and fees as stated by the terms of the bond. If the pharmacist doesn’t adhere to these terms, a claim may be filed with the surety. If the principal, in this situation the pharmacist, fails to provide compensation for a claim then the surety company will investigate the claim’s validity and potentially pay to settle the claim. However, the pharmacist will most likely have to sign an indemnity agreement guaranteeing they will reimburse the surety for any money paid out in a claim.

A letter of credit serves as a guaranteed payment method in which the issuing bank makes payments to the beneficiary. In this situation, the bank would cover any payment that would need to be made in the event the certified pharmacist or pharmacist technician causes damages to a consumer. There are two types of letters of credit— irrevocable and revocable.  Revocable refers to the bank’s ability to change the guidelines specified with the customer, while irrevocable means it is a permanent agreement for the duration of a previously determined amount of time.

Surety bonds typically afford applicants more flexibility with their assets, compared to taking out a letter of credit. Letters of credit often have many hidden fees which can increase the cost and freeze the promoter’s assets, while a surety bond is an annual fee ensuring the surety can cover any claims filed.

What is the difference between a pharmacist and a pharmacist technician?

Typically the main difference between a pharmacist and a pharmacist technician is the level of education separating the two professions, as well as responsibilities that come with the job. The Iowa Board of Pharmacy defines a pharmacy technician as “an individual who assists in the technical functions of the practice of pharmacy, enabling the pharmacist to provide pharmaceutical care to the patient.” Whereas a pharmacist is “responsible for the actions of a pharmacy technician or other supportive personnel.”

A pharmacist technician in Iowa only needs to have completed a highschool degree or equivalent and to submit an application for pharmacy technician registration with either the certified technician registration or with the technician trainee registration within 30 days of employment. All pharmacy technicians are required to pass the PTCE, a standardized test administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. There are numerous resources and tools available to help prepare for the exam.

A pharmacist is required to receive either a doctorate degree from a recognized college of pharmacy or to have earned a FPGEC certification, as well as fully complete an application with the Iowa Board of Pharmacy. Additionally, proof of 1,500 hours of internship experience must be filed with the board before receiving a license to legally work in the state. Along with the required surety bond, a pharmacist must also submit to a criminal background check and a facility manager must attest to the applicant working at least three years in the prescription drug industry, has no federal convictions, and maintains a thorough understanding of state and federal laws.

For more information on other Iowa pharmacist and pharmacist technicians requirements, visit the Iowa Board of Pharmacy website.

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About the Author

Michelle Cummings
Michelle is a senior at the University of Missouri - Columbia studying journalism with an emphasis in strategic communication. She is a member of the marketing department and outreach team for, a leading provider of online bonding for clients nationwide.