Probation or Agreed Order Violations
If Board Staff at the Texas State Board of Pharmacy suspect a pharmacist or pharmacy already under an Order has violated one or more of its terms, the licensee will likely be asked to attend an informal conference. This will be run much like an informal conference held in reference to an original complaint and discussed elsewhere on our website. The pharmacist or pharmacy will appear before an informal conference panel and be asked to respond to any claims that they have violated their Board Order.
At the close of the informal conference, the Board Panel will either dismiss the allegation, allowing the probationer to finish out their Order, or else propose a new, and typically harsher, Agreed Order as a replacement. If the Texas pharmacist or pharmacy does not accept the proposed new Order, the matter will eventually be set for a contested case hearing at the State Office of Administrative Hearings where the Pharmacy Board will pursue additional discipline up to and including the revocation of the affected person’s license. In these cases, the representation of a qualified Texas license defense attorney can be critical to preserving the licensee’s right to work in their profession.
Common Board Order Violations
Some common Order violations include failure to follow any supervision restrictions, failure to pay a fine, noncompliance with PRN, testing violations, and not following treatment or medical recommendations made by a Board-approved mental health provider (MHP). For pharmacies, common probationary issues include additional violations of the Texas Pharmacy Act by pharmacy personnel such as prescription misfills or a failure to prevent drug diversion and loss. For a pharmacy already on probation with the Pharmacy Board, this will often result in steadily increasing administrative fines and can eventually lead to license suspension or revocation. Other probationary compliance issues for pharmacies can include non-payment of existing fines or failure to arrange for and comply with the recommendations of an outside practice consultant.
Of particular importance for pharmacists on Board monitoring orders, with or without PRN involvement, are drug testing violations. The Texas Pharmacy Board’s standard Order for licensees being monitored via urine drug and alcohol screening contains language allowing Board Staff to unilaterally suspend the pharmacist’s license based on alleged testing violations. These can range from a positive test, to a failure to submit to testing, a failure to call-in, or the submission of several negative dilute samples. The Texas Pharmacy Board’s standard Order allows Staff to pull the person’s license without holding an informal conference and does not specify how soon they are required to set the matter for a trial at the State Office of Administrative Hearings. This can be very frustrating to the licensee as Board Staff will often delay the setting of a hearing for many months.
The stakes involved with alleged probation violations are often more severe than the original complaint which led to the licensee’s Order. Like most licensing Boards, the Texas State Board of Pharmacy’s approach is to escalate discipline with each new violation, particularly for those already on an Order when the latest allegation occurs. Additionally, it has been the experience of our pharmacy board attorneys that pharmacists and pharmacies already on stringent Board Orders can become trapped in a downward spiral of compliance violations which, if left unchecked, can lead to a lengthy suspension or license revocation.
In addition to representing clients at probationary informal conferences, our attorneys are well versed in dealing with the Texas Pharmacy Board’s compliance office and can work with both the Board and the licensee to resolve pending issues connected with an existing Board Order and help prevent future compliance problems. Any Texas pharmacist or pharmacy accused of violating a Pharmacy Board Order should immediately seek the knowledgeable counsel of an experienced Texas license defense lawyer. Contact the attorneys of the Leichter Law Firm today at 512-495-9995 to discuss your case with a qualified member of our legal team and begin establishing your defense.