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When a Board of Pharmacy investigation is launched in Texas, there are numerous potential outcomes. Any pharmacist under investigation is at risk for losing his or her license or seeing their license suspended. Other disciplinary actions resulting from an investigation by the board might include anything from probation to penalties on the administrative portion of any pharmacy. It’s not uncommon for customers, employees, and vendors of a pharmacy to issue a formal complaint with the state when the see or suspect there is illegal activity going on within a pharmacy. If found guilty, pharmacists run the risk of losing their licenses.
Why is A Pharmacist Being Investigated?
The first question pharmacists ask upon receiving notification of an ongoing investigation is, “Why am I being investigated?” The answer is both simple and complex. It’s simple in that someone had a complaint and the board found the complaint significant enough to launch an investigation. The complex answer is it could be for several reasons, and it might not even be anything you know is going on. common Board of Pharmacy investigations include the following:
1. Unprofessional Conduct: When someone accuses a pharmacist of unprofessional conduct, it can include a myriad of offenses from sexual abuse to discrimination to refilling pharmaceuticals incorrectly for specific clients.
2. Fraud/Deceit: A pharmacist is accused of this when improper billing occurs, when clients are charged for prescriptions they did not have, and/or when insurance companies are fraudulently billed for the profit of the company in question.
3. Criminal Arrest: If a pharmacist is arrested outside of work for any criminal activity, it might hold bearing on his or her ability to carry a professional license.
4. Substance Abuse: When a pharmacist is using and abusing drugs and/or alcohol, they are at risk of losing their license whether it’s on the job or off.
5. Violation of Laws: Pharmacists are required to take an oath promising to uphold the Pharmacy, Health & Safety Code when they are licensed. Anyone suspected of violating that code is immediately investigated.
6. Negligence: When a pharmacist is not doing his or her job correctly due to negligence, they are investigated. Proper job care is required of pharmacists as their ability to provide correct prescriptions to patients is what can save their lives or take their lives.
Not all investigations show there is any wrongdoing in a pharmacy, and some show the issues at hand are not the fault of the pharmacist but the administrative staff instead. Whether a staff member is purposefully billing insurance companies or clients incorrectly or doing so by gross mistake, the pharmacy is liable for administrative sanctions.
Anyone can file a complaint against a pharmacist if they feel there is substantial evidence of wrongdoing on behalf of the pharmacist. It doesn’t have to be someone who uses the pharmacy personally, and it doesn’t have to be an employee. Any substantiated claim is investigated and if a pharmacist is found guilty, they are subject to a myriad of disciplinary actions by the Board, the state, and the Federal government depending on the findings of the investigation.
– Prison Time
– License suspension/loss
If a pharmacist is found guilty of defrauding the government or its clients, the pharmacy is required to pay fines and restitution. The fines are subject to the type of theft that occurred, as well as the number of counts the pharmacy is found guilty of. Restitution to all injured parties is required to be paid in full. Prison sentences are required for anyone found guilty of certain offenses, but it’s dependent on the type of offense, the number of offenses, and the law. Rehabilitation and licenses suspension might occur when a pharmacist is guilty of using drugs or alcohol. Successful completion of mandatory detox and rehab allows pharmacists a second chance to redeem themselves and work again.
A professional attorney with knowledge and experience in San Antonio fighting for the rights of pharmacy licenses can help in cases like this. They can respond to the investigation paperwork, help the client uphold the law, and work to prove innocence. It might be the only way a client can keep their license.