Agreed Order Negotiations
Unless a matter is dismissed at an informal conference, the Texas State Board of Pharmacy will offer a pharmacist or pharmacy under investigation an Agreed Board Order as an option to resolve their case. In other instances a proposed Agreed Board Order is forwarded to the licensee as an alternative to attending an informal conference. When Texas Pharmacy Board Staff offer a proposed Agreed Order to a licensee, it means they have already made a determination that the pharmacist or pharmacy has violated the Texas Pharmacy Act, a Board rule, or other applicable law, and that this violation warrants disciplinary action. This determination may be made prior to even hearing the response of the licensee.
If the licensee agrees to the proposed Board Order, it will be presented for ratification to the full Texas Pharmacy Board at one of their forthcoming meetings. Although the Pharmacy Board does not have to accept a proposed Agreed Board Order, as a matter of practice it is extremely rare for the Board to refuse to ratify an Agreed Order. Once the Order is accepted by the Board it goes into effect and the pharmacist or pharmacy is required to comply with its terms or else face an additional disciplinary action.
If you are engaged in pharmacy work and are currently under investigation for alleged misconduct, the representation of a knowledgeable and experienced Texas license defense lawyer can help to ensure that you receive the most favorable possible terms on your Board Order.
How Agreed Board Orders Work
The Board Orders offered by staff follow a standard pattern dependent on the type and severity of the alleged violation. As an example, for cases involving an alleged failure of a pharmacist-in-charge to prevent loss or diversion of medication, the proposed Order usually includes reprimand, fine, and possibly a limitation on the pharmacist’s ability to continue to function as a PIC. In a situation where a Texas licensee is accused of suffering from chemical dependency and/or diverting controlled substances for their own personal use, Pharmacy Board Staff will most likely propose a five-year Board Order with mandated participation in PRN and serious restrictions on the person’s ability to practice. Board Orders offered to pharmacies can vary from a simple administrative penalty to a suspension or restriction on the types of scheduled drugs which can be dispensed. In particularly serious cases, such as those involving felony criminal conduct or allegations of non-therapeutic dispensing, Board Staff may demand that the licensee surrender their license or agree to a lengthy suspension followed by significant restrictions.
In many situations, the Texas pharmacist or pharmacy will wish to resolve their matter through an Agreed Board Order. This is often the case when a clear violation of the Texas Pharmacy Act has occurred and it does not make legal or practical sense to take the case to trial. Even if the pharmacist or pharmacy is considering fighting the Board’s allegations in court, the licensee may still be interested in exploring possible settlement options so that they can reach an informed decision.
In either scenario, the goal of the licensee and their Texas pharmacy board attorney is to successfully negotiate an Agreed Order that does the least amount of harm and does not jeopardize the client’s ability to continue as an ongoing concern. Our administrative law attorneys have substantial experience negotiating Agreed Orders with the Texas State Board of Pharmacy and are well versed in what is and isn’t possible in a given case. Oftentimes putting together the right kind of remedial evidence and information can mean the difference between a five year and one year Board Order. In many instances, the Texas Pharmacy Board is willing to compromise in marginal cases if they suspect the pharmacist or pharmacy’s attorney will be able to win a favorable decision at the State Office of Administrative Hearings. Some of these cases may also be good prospects for resolution through mediation.
Regardless of the circumstances, a pharmacist or pharmacy will significantly benefit from representation by an attorney familiar with the contours of the Texas Pharmacy Board’s disciplinary policies and the applicable law who is also ready and able to successfully take the Board to trial. All of these are key factors in negotiating the best possible Board Order. For experienced and knowledgeable legal representation, please contact the Texas license defense attorneys of the Leichter Law Firm today at 512-495-9995.