Becoming a pharmacist takes a lot of dedication, hard work, and perseverance. It’s also a stressful job but one that is rewarding. You provide the medicine that heals and helps people. However, with the rewards comes the negative side of being a pharmacist. With all of the many rules, laws, and changes in pharmacy laws today, pharmacists often worry their professional license being in jeopardy. Many responsibilities come with dispensing medication, as every pharmacist knows. Not only do you have the responsibility of making sure the medicine you give out is proper for the person receiving it, but you also must make sure that it doesn’t interact with other medicines. Of course, software database searches help make the process simpler, yet it’s still in the pharmacy technician’s hands. If you think the physician who wrote the prescription should be responsible for knowing what medicines their patient is taking, well think again. Ultimately, the pharmacist needs to check for medicine interactions.
This isn’t the only responsibility of pharmacists. They also must follow several steps when filling narcotic prescriptions such as:
- Make sure the prescription looks legitimate.
- Make sure the date isn’t changed.
- Check if the physician is far away from the pharmacy.
- Ensure the paper looks like prescription paper.
- Make sure the DEA number of the physician is on the prescription.
- Does the person have proper identification matching the prescription?
- Make sure the narcotic is kept in a safe until pick-up.
Then on top of all that pharmacists are encouraged to check their state’s Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) database. This database shows the patients filling history and alerts you if a patient has recently filled from different pharmacies, multiple physicians, or emergency rooms. This help prevents the abuse of narcotics. In addition to narcotic dispensing, there are certain cold medicines that now require documentation. People must show their licenses and are only allowed a certain amount per month.
So, what should pharmacists do if their professional license is threatened by an accusation of violation or some infraction of the law? Maybe this has never happened to you but if it ever does, it’s important to know what steps to take to protect your license. This is typically what occurs if your professional pharmacy license is at risk of being revoked:
- A letter is sent to the pharmacist by the Board of Pharmacy notifying him/her of a hearing.
- The notice will outline what the charges are that are being brought against the pharmacist.
- At the hearing, the evidence is presented and the board makes a decision. The decision may involve disciplinary action or revoking the pharmacist’s license.
- If the pharmacist is unhappy with the decision, he/she can appeal the case to the state court system.
If the pharmacist attends the hearing unprepared, there is the likelihood of a negative outcome. If you receive a letter from the board of pharmacy indicating they are conducting a hearing, the first step you need to take is to contact a professional license defense attorney. They will be able to prepare the evidence on your behalf so that you are better protected. Do not attempt to contact the board and discuss the situation because that will likely make things worse. You may incriminate yourself and it can be used against you at the hearing. Professional license defense attorneys are skilled in negotiating these types of cases.
If you are in a predicament such as this, contact Speas Law Firm today. We have over 20 years of experience defending clients like you. You don’t have to navigate this situation yourself. We will stand with you and help you obtain the best outcome.
Disclaimer: The content of this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact Jennifer Speas to discuss the specifics of your case.