Common Issues that Can Lead to Disciplinary Action for Pharmacists

May 17, 2023
The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford

The Maryland Board of Pharmacy is responsible for regulating pharmacists across the state. When a pharmacist is accused of violating a professional obligation, the Board takes these matters very seriously. The process will start with a preliminary investigation that could then lead to disciplinary proceedings. It could conclude with the suspension and revocation of your license. One of the best ways to avoid losing your pharmacy license is to be aware of the common issues that can lead to disciplinary action. And if you have already been notified of a potential violation, the best thing you can do is contact an experienced professional licensed defense lawyer as soon as possible. 

Professional Violations

Every licensed pharmacist is presumed to have sufficient training, education, and experience in order to perform their job. Unfortunately, the reality is that many pharmacists may be required to work long hours with demanding supervisors, poorly equipped workplaces, and poorly trained colleagues. As a result, mistakes can happen – mistakes that can result in the suspension or loss of your license. Some of the most common professional violations include the following: 

  • Errors in filling prescriptions
  • Errors in providing prescription information
  • Mislabeling or misbranding medications
  • Dispensing medications without a valid prescription
  • Dispensing unauthorized substances 
  • Dispensing substances for unauthorized uses
  • The appropriation of medications for personal use
  • Record-keeping violations including failure to complete patient records or falsification of patient records
  • Coding, billing, and other financial record-keeping violations
  • Practicing pharmacy without a valid license
  • Confidentiality/HIPAA violations

Almost all of these issues could be the result of a simple mistake. However, you should not assume that admitting the mistake will resolve the issue. If you have been accused of one or more of the issues listed above, the best thing to do is to contact an experienced professional license defense lawyer. 

Personal Issues Can Lead to Disciplinary Action Too

It may come as a surprise but things that happen outside of the workplace and unconnected to your professional life as a pharmacist can also jeopardize your license. Some of the personal issues that commonly lead to disciplinary action for pharmacists include the following: 

  • Physical health issues that affect your ability to perform your job in accordance with pharmacy standards
  • Mental health issues that affect your memory, cognition, attention, concentration, or other abilities required to perform your job
  • Emotional health issues such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD that could impair your ability to do your job
  • Substance abuse or addiction issues, especially issues with controlled substances
  • Criminal charges, particularly felonies, that could damage your reputation as a member of the profession 
  • Sexual misconduct, discriminatory behavior, or engaging in harassment

Generally speaking, there must be some connection between the issue and its impact on your ability to do your job. For example, there may be valid questions concerning a pharmacist’s abilities if they have severe alcoholism. Similarly, a pharmacist who has been charged with fraud may be considered untrustworthy. 

However, you should be aware that one of the Board’s purposes is to protect the reputation of the profession and its members. As a result, it may take action against you even if your actions do not or did not affect your ability to perform your job. 

What You Can Do to Protect Yourself

Pharmacists need to be constantly vigilant in order to guard against inadvertent professional violations. Here are some things that you can do to protect your license: 

  1. Prioritize your record-keeping responsibilities. Mistakes happen when record-keeping is left until later, when you may forget or get confused about important details. 
  2. Inform your employer of conditions that make it difficult to do your job. You should immediately inform your employer if you are understaffed or lack other resources to adequately do your job. Ideally, you should inform them in writing, but make a note of the date and time if you inform them verbally. 
  3. Pay attention to your mental health. Stress and anxiety from your personal life can carry over into your work, often in ways that are unexpected. If you are experiencing a major life event such as a divorce or the death of a loved one, be mindful of your mental and emotional well-being. Get the help you need and do not hesitate to request leave from your job or seek other accommodations. 

Contact Professional License Defense Lawyer Jay Stafford and His Team Today

The most important thing you can do to protect yourself is to reach out to someone who can defend your pharmacy license. Whether you want to avoid disciplinary action or have already received a complaint, we can help. Contact us today by