The State Department of Education and the Office of Professional Discipline (OPD) handle disciplinary actions against pharmacists in New York. Complaints against the pharmacist or an existing criminal conviction can lead to investigations of misconduct. In either situation, these are high stakes that could lead to having your license revoked.
During the course of the investigation, you will receive a letter from an investigator at OPD. As a licensed pharmacist in the state, you are obligated to comply with every aspect of the investigation. This means any requests for documents will most likely have to be submitted. Investigators will also get statements from witnesses and demand that they turn over records.
However, this does not mean you are required to speak with the investigator. Instead, you should consult with an attorney first, even if it is to respond to a demand for records. No matter how casual or unimportant you believe it to be, any statement from you is often interpreted negatively.
Reasons for Misconduct Investigations
Typically, investigations that target pharmacists will focus on fraudulent acts, violations of controlled substances and handling medications and/or labels improperly. A finding against you for either of these offenses may result in you losing your license. Other penalties such as exclusion from programs and fines will also apply. Depending on the weight of the findings, your case could be referred for criminal prosecution.
You should also be aware that you could be liable for fraud if findings show that you enabled someone else to commit a fraudulent act. One way to shield your career from such allegations is to set up compliance programs and systems that can minimize the potential for violations.
Your license defense lawyer will work you to employ mechanisms for early detection and effective corrective actions. This can be done without interrupting day-to-day operations.
Being convicted of a crime, even if it is unrelated to your pharmaceutical practice, can lead to misconduct charges and a loss of your license. There are other actions that can lead to professional misconduct allegations.
• Improper advertising
• Violation of anti-kickback statutes
• Lack of proper recordkeeping
• Alcohol or drug impairment
• Failing to pay child support
Speak with a lawyer who is proficient in health care law if you are facing criminal charges. He or she will be able to develop a defense aimed at protecting your professional license.
Investigations are a Serious Matter
Not surprisingly, some pharmacists resist being investigated. They believe they have not violated any rule and ultimately, investigators will realize this too and stop investigating their practice. Unfortunately, this is not likely to happen once an investigation begins.
Something appeared –an irregularity or error – that raised suspicions and will be counted against you. Because of this, you need to take this matter seriously and work towards proving your side in a way that does not cause the suspension of your license.
Investigations can come from other agencies besides OPD that threaten the status of your license. These include:
• Drug Enforcement Administration
• Department of Justice
• Food and Drug Administration
• Office of Civil Rights
• Medicaid Fraud Control Unit
• Office of Medicaid Inspector General
Therefore, you need legal representation that can help you overcome investigations from a variety of prosecuting agencies. A lawyer will work hard to make sure your license is protected at every stage of an investigation. This includes disciplinary hearings, criminal prosecutions and appeals.
Additionally, self-reporting a violation could help to mitigate the consequences from an investigator uncovering the violation. Still, you should never volunteer information before speaking with your attorney.
Contact a New York Pharmacist License Defense Lawyer You Can Trust
At Raiser & Kenniff, PC, we understand that this can be a very frustrating and confusing time. The threat of losing your professional pharmacist license is unnerving, particularly when the outcome might not end there. Having someone on your side ensures that your best interests are included throughout this process.
We are dedicated to work strictly for you to keep your license active. If you are facing a charge related to alcohol abuse, you should get help but it should not jeopardize your license. Our attorneys will do what it takes to get a favorable decision that will address your needs without leading to career and life-altering penalties.