Pharmacist License Defense
New York Pharmacist License Defense Attorney
With so many rules and regulations governing the New York pharmaceutical industry, many pharmacists often find themselves facing disciplinary charges. The attorneys here at Joseph Potashnik & Associates have been defending those pharmacists for more than a decade. We’ve effectively represented hundreds of pharmacists before the New York State Department of Education and the New York Board of Pharmacists, with a track record of achieving highly favorable results.
How the New York Pharmacist Disciplinary Process Works
One of the best ways to understand the type of defense pharmacists need when accused of wrongdoing is to understand how the New York disciplinary process works.
When a pharmacist who is licensed in New York State is the target of a disciplinary complaint, the case is forwarded to the State Department of Education Office of Professional Discipline (OPD). It is up to the OPD to investigate and prosecute pharmacists for acts of professional misconduct. In New York state, the list of professional misconduct is lengthy, encompassing nearly 40 offenses. Some of the most common act of professional misconduct we’ve seen in our years defending New York pharmacists include:
- Fraudulent practice
- Being convicted of any crime in New York or other jurisdictions
- Hiring unauthorized or unlicensed staff members
- Not providing adequate pharmacy supervision
- Not notifying the pharmacy board of change of changes in pharmacy supervision
- Not maintaining a thermometer in the pharmacy refrigerator
- Not maintaining the required biennial controlled drug inventory
- Alcohol and drug abuse
- Additional misconduct involving drugs and medication, such as:
- Maintaining or selling medications that are either expired or misbranded
- Selling drugs not approved by the FDA
- Stealing medication from the pharmacy
- Taking pharmacy medication for personal use
- Taking prescription medication without authorization
- Storing food with medication in the pharmacy refrigerator
Pharmacist Audits, Inspections and Complaints
Disciplinary action against a New York pharmacist typically begins one of two ways. It may be the result of someone filing a complaint with the Board of Pharmacy, or it can start after routine pharmacy audits and inspections. Once the Board of Pharmacy receives an alert of potential misconduct, the OPD immediately becomes involved. A letter is sent to the targeted pharmacist, letting them know they are being investigated for misconduct and they need to schedule an interview with the investigator.
Because pharmacists hold a state license, they are obliged to comply with the investigation. They are not obliged, however, to speak with the investigator. In fact, our attorneys recommend against it. We instead urge pharmacists to consult one of the lawyers at Joseph Potashnik & Associates for legal assistance before discussing anything with anyone, especially an OPD investigator.
Anything pharmacists tell the investigator will be used against them, and they are highly like to make damaging statements during an interview, often without even realizing it. Meeting with one of our experienced OPD attorneys before you speak with an investigator can literally save your license.
Pharmacist Disciplinary Charges
Once the investigation is complete, the Investigative Committee determines if enough information exists on a legal basis to pursue disciplinary charges against the pharmacist. The case is dismissed if sufficient evidence does not exist. If enough evidence does exist, the prosecutor assigned to the case will reach out to your lawyer. This kicks off an extensive process which can go one of two ways.
A consent agreement may be reached between the board and the pharmacist, or the case can move forward to a full disciplinary hearing. A consent agreement is similar to a plea agreement in criminal cases, while the disciplinary hearing may be likened to going to trial.
The state has a number of penalties it can impose of a pharmacist as disciplinary actions. License surrender or license revocation are the most severe. Lesser penalties can include license suspension, censure and reprimand, probation, mental evaluation and treatment, drug evaluation and treatment, and fines.
Pharmacist Disciplinary Outcomes
When it comes to the outcomes of pharmacist disciplinary action, a number of factors come into play. Since losing your license equates to losing your livelihood and even your career, this outcome is not an option. Staunchly defending your license is best done by seeking out legal assistance as quickly as possible in your case.
The lawyer you choose is another factor in your successful defense. While there are many knowledgeable attorneys throughout New York, you need more than knowledge. You need a lawyer that’s not only experienced in the highly specific field of representing pharmacists before the board of pharmacy and the OPD, but one that has a track record of success in such cases.
That’s exactly what you’ll find at the office of Joseph Potashnik & Associates. Our healthcare attorneys have accomplished exceptional results over the years, defending pharmacists throughout New York City as well as New York state. Contact one of our New York pharmacy license defense lawyers today.