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As a pharmacist you are an essential part of the healthcare chain and it is your role to ensure that people get the best care. However, this importance also comes with some degree of oversight. In every state including New York there is a disciplinary board that has the responsibility of regulating the functions of pharmacists and it is in charge of distributing licenses. This board also has the power to investigate the performance and conduct of licensed pharmacists. In a nutshell, the board has a lot of power and you should be careful not to give the board a reason to launch an investigation into your professional conduct. If you do so you risk jeopardizing your career.
In case you are accused of professional misconduct, inappropriate action, or abuse you should engage an NYC defense attorney to secure your future in any disciplinary hearing or investigation. You need a powerful and effective legal representation when your livelihood and reputation as a pharmacist are at risk.
New York Pharmacist Investigation Procedure
Pharmacists in New York are subject to discipline for any misconduct by the State Department of Education in the Office of Professional Discipline or OPD. Investigations can be launched if there is a complaint or after a criminal conviction. Whatever the case the stakes are very high and you cannot afford to take a wrong turn. During the investigation you will be contacted by an OPD detective by a letter and as a licensee you are obligated to comply fully. This means that you should submit any documents upon request by the investigator. However, you are not allowed to speak to the investigator about your case. Investigators will also demand that you submit all records and interview witnesses. Therefore, before you submit any information that has been requested by the investigator make sure you have reviewed it carefully with your attorney.
Cases of misconduct are often investigated with audit investigations by different agencies in case you are suspected of participating in fraud, violation of substance control, substandard care, and other issues. You should remember that any information and statements that you submit in the course of a misconduct investigation can be used by other agencies. Therefore, for the best results consult an attorney who has experience in all the aspects covered in a health care investigation.
A good lawyer can in some cases convince the OPD on your behalf to terminate the investigation process without effect. However, if the investigator believes that the evidence compiled is enough they will create a report and submit it to the investigative committee. At this point a prosecutor takes over the case and your attorney can deal with them to try and resolve the matter. In some cases the prosecutor can agree to settle. Your attorney will examine the proposal from the prosecutor and advise you on the best options so that you can make an informed decision.
If the evidence submitted to the board proves that you committed offenses chances are that you will be excluded from some programs, be prosecuted, and fined heavily. As a pharmacist you should be aware that you may be liable for fraud if it is proved that you willingly allowed another person to commit fraud. Therefore, if you are concerned about any allegations of drug violation or fraud you should get an experienced attorney. Your lawyer will help you set up a compliance program and create a mechanism that will minimize the occurrence of any violations by early detection, effective correction, and prevention.
Depending on the nature of your misconduct the board can also decide to permanently revoke your license. This is the worst case scenario and you will need a strong response if you want the board to reconsider its decision. A license revocation means that you will have to wait for a span of three years before applying to get reinstated. During the three years you should work to prove to the board that you have repented and have rehabilitated your old ways. Your actions should prove that you will not repeat such a mistake again in future. You should also prove that you have still retained your knowledge. The most important thing is to show that you are remorseful for your previous actions and do not attempt to argue with the board about its decision. Your lawyer can assist you in every step on what to do.
One tricky part of this process is that after the investigation or after your license has been terminated in New York you can be investigated by the boards in other states that you hold a license. This means that it is impossible to move from New York to other cities or states to practice or apply a new license. All boards are supposed to share their information to avoid such cases. Being investigated in one state jeopardizes your position with any other state board around the country.
Apart from investigations by the OPD your license can be affected by investigations by other agencies including the DEA, FDA, Department of Justice, and other state local law enforcers. The defense process is not easy and the best decision you can make in your life at this point is to hire an experienced advocate. The earlier you consult one the better for you to stand a chance to retain your license. Ensure you get a pharmacist defense attorney who can represent you at any stage of the investigation, during criminal prosecutions, appeals, and disciplinary hearings.