Receipt of Initial Complaint Letter/Visit by Board Investigator
In almost all cases, a Texas pharmacist or pharmacy licensee will first learn that a complaint has been filed with the Texas State Board of Pharmacy against their license in one of two ways:
1. The licensee will receive an official letter from the Texas State Board of Pharmacy notifying them that an investigation has been opened and stating that they can either accept an Agreed Order being offered by Board Staff, provide a written response to the allegations, attend an upcoming Informal Settlement Conference, or request that the case be set for a trial at the State Office of Administrative Hearings; or
2. A Board investigator will appear unannounced at either the licensee’s home or the pharmacy where they are employed. If it is a pharmacy that is under investigation, this is the more likely scenario: a Board investigator will arrive at the pharmacy one day with no prior notice.
In either case, it has been the Leichter Law Firm’s longstanding experience that it is imperative the pharmacist or pharmacy immediately contact an experienced pharmacy board attorney to seek professional legal advice and/or representation. Our administrative law attorneys have seen many cases where the pharmacist or pharmacy tender an original response that severely prejudices their case or otherwise waives legal rights which impact their case moving forward. This is particularly true when the first contact with the Texas State Board of Pharmacy is an unexpected visit from a Board investigator.
Texas State Board of Pharmacy Investigators
The Texas Board investigators typically strive to be as intimidating as possible and usually identify themselves as licensed peace officers and oftentimes carry a firearm. Their sole job is to pry information and harmful disclosures out of the licensee. Oftentimes this includes asking the pharmacist or pharmacy owner to compose an affidavit on the spot responding to allegations the licensee may have only just been made aware of. Other demands can include a request that the licensee sign a release giving the Texas Pharmacy Board complete access to the person’s medical and treatment records.
If the Pharmacy Board investigator is making an unannounced visit at a pharmacy, it is not uncommon for them to be accompanied by agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration as well as federal and local law enforcement. Such appearances are conducted in a raid-like fashion and involve the seizing of pharmacy records, obtaining on-the-spot written statements from the licensee and other employees at the pharmacy, and frequently an intimidating request by the DEA that the pharmacy surrender, at that moment, its DEA and DPS controlled substances registrations or else face unspecified consequences.
Whether your first indication of a Texas State Board of Pharmacy complaint is a letter from the Board or a surprise visit from a Board investigator, you have the right to both contact an attorney and to delay any response. There is no law requiring a Texas pharmacist or pharmacy licensee to provide an on-the-spot statement or response to a Board investigator or other government official. You have the right to politely turn them away until you can consult with an experienced Texas Pharmacy Board attorney.
Based on a multitude of past clients who have hurt themselves by responding to the Board’s letter or acquiescing to an investigator’s demands prior to speaking with a lawyer, the attorneys at the Leichter Law Firm strongly advise pharmacists and pharmacies facing an initial complaint with the Texas State Board of Pharmacy to immediately seek experienced legal advice. Contact our Texas license defense attorneys today at 512-495-9995 to speak with a qualified member of our legal team and learn more about your legal rights and options in this difficult situation.