Pharmacist Lawyer in NYC
Our attorneys have been defending New York pharmacists against disciplinary charges for over a decade. We have successfully represented hundreds of pharmacists before the New York Board of Pharmacists and the New York State Department of Education Office of Professional Discipline, achieving great results.
First, let’s cover the basics and discuss how New York disciplinary process works when pharmacists are accused of wrongdoing.
Every pharmacists licensed in the State of New York against whom a disciplinary complaint is filed fall under the jurisdiction of the State Department of Education Office of Professional Discipline (OPD). The OPD has the authority to investigate and prosecute pharmacists and most other professionals for what the state law lists as acts of professional misconduct. In total, that list is long, covering almost forty offenses. The most common examples of professional misconduct amongst New York pharmacists, which we see often include the following:
- Being convicted of any crime in any jurisdiction
- Fraudulent practice
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Holding for sale numerous medications that were either misbranded or expired.
- Stealing medications from the pharmacy
- Taking medications from the pharmacy for personal use
- Failing to provide adequate supervision of a pharmacy
- Employing unlicensed and unauthorized persons
- Selling drugs not approved by the FDA
- Failure to notify the pharmacy board of change of supervisor or supervising pharmacist.
- Commingling food with medication in the pharmacy refrigerator
- Failing to maintain a thermometer in the pharmacy refrigerator
- Maintaining outdated drugs in the pharmacy’s drug stock
- Failing to maintain a biennial controlled drug inventory.
- Obtaining prescription required medication without authorization
There are several ways a disciplinary action against the pharmacist may begin. Many start when complaints are filed with the Board of Pharmacy. Many cases start after routine pharmacy inspections and audits. When potential misconduct comes to the attention of the board, the Office of Professional Discipline becomes involved and at some point the targeted pharmacist will be notified by a letter saying that they are being investigated for misconduct and that they are to report for the interview with the investigator.
A crucial point to understand is that as a licensee, the pharmacist is obligated to comply with the investigations. That does not mean that he or she is obligated to speak with the investigator. In fact, we always recommend against it and strongly encourage pharmacists to exercise their right to consult an attorney and to seek out legal help before discussing anything with anyone, let alone the OPD investigator. The main reason for that is anything you tell the investigator will be used against you and you are very likely to make damaging statements during the interview. Discussing your case with an experienced OPD lawyer who has also dealt with cases involving pharmacist before you speak with the investigator may literally save your license.
At the end of the investigation, the Investigative Committee will decide whether or not there is enough information in the file for the legal basis to press disciplinary charges against the pharmacist. If there is not enough sufficient evidence, the case will be dismissed, but if the evidence is sufficient, the assigned prosecutor will reach out to your attorney and that will start the long process which will result either in a consent agreement between the pharmacist and the board or in a full disciplinary hearing. In a way, this resembles the process in criminal cases where the defendant has the right to go to trial but may also work out a plea agreement with the government.
When it comes to disciplinary actions, the state has a variety of penalties it can impose on a pharmacist. The most severe penalty, of course, is license revocation or license surrender. Other disciplinary action can result in license suspension, both actual and stayed, probation, censure and reprimand, mental and drug evaluation and treatment, and fines.
The outcome of any disciplinary matter depends on various factors. Obviously, when your professional license, your livelihood, and your entire career are on the line, losing them is not an option. This is why we recommend to always seek out legal help as early as possible in the case. Make sure that the attorney you decide to retain has experience representing pharmacists before of the board of pharmacy and the Office of Professional Discipline. There are many good lawyers, but when it comes to a highly specialized area of representing pharmacists in OPD cases, you need someone with experience and solid track record. You will find such attorneys at our office.
At Norman Spencer Law Group, we have accomplished great results over the years of defending pharmacists in New York City and New York State. We offer our experience as well as personal service and affordable flat fees in most cases. Call us today for an immediate consultation with a New York pharmacy license defense attorney today.