A Survey of Recent Disciplinary Actions by TDLR

After studying to complete your education and professional licensure as a Texas pharmacist, the last thing you expect, or need is a complaint against you to threaten your career. You have too much to lose to handle this complaint and potential disciplinary action in this situation. Instead, contact an experienced pharmacist license defense lawyer to help protect your interests in any disciplinary proceedings. By obtaining legal counsel, you will be better positioned to fight back against the sanctions you may face in disciplinary proceedings before the Texas State Board of Pharmacy (TSBP).  

The Professional Recovery Network

The Texas Pharmacy Association established the Professional Recovery Network (PRN) in 1981 to identify, assist, support, and monitor eligible healthcare professionals who may be impaired due to substance abuse or mental illness. PRN also has the dual mission of keeping the public safe from impaired healthcare professionals. 

PRN services are open to pharmacists, pharmacy students, dentists, dental assistants, hygienists, veterinarians, and optometrists. The PRN is a nationally recognized peer assistance program fully supported by the Texas State Board of Pharmacy (TSBP).

How PRN Gets Referrals

A pharmacist can self-refer, or a concerned third party, such as an employer, family member, or colleague, can privately and confidentially refer a pharmacist to PRN. However, the TSBP also may refer to a pharmacist privately or through a Board Order related to disciplinary proceedings. 

PRN and Confidentiality 

The identity of anyone who refers an individual to PRN will remain confidential. However, PRN staff may ask for your name and phone number to contact you for more information or to let you know if they could contact the person you referred to the agency. No additional information will be shared with the original referral person beyond the fact that contact was made. 

In private referrals, all contact between the individual and PRN remains confidential. The PRN is not required to report any information to the TSBP, so long as the pharmacist enrolls in the program and complies with their PRN agreement. However, depending on the situation, a pharmacist’s contact with the PRN could result in disciplinary action through a referral to the TSBP. In this situation, the PRN may report their noncompliancenoncompliance and the issues underlying their referral to the TSBP for disciplinary action. As a result, the pharmacist’s privacy is conditioned on their willingness to get assistance through PRN. 

However, if the referral occurs according to Board Order, the TSBP typically must monitor the pharmacist’s progress and periodically report back to the TSBP. Therefore, in these Board-ordered cases, the pharmacist should not expect privacy in the matters discussed or services performed through PRN.

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PRN Agreements

Although circumstances may vary, a PRN agreement typically lasts five years. Alcohol or substance use problems usually result in an agreement that incorporates inpatient or outpatient treatment, random drug and alcohol screenings, regular attendance at support group meetings, participation in periodic PRN functions, and abstention from any prescription drugs with mind-altering effects. Mental health problems typically result in an agreement that requires ongoing mental health treatment and quarterly updates to a PRN case manager by treating mental health professionals. 

While PRN is heavily involved in the treatment of mental health and substance abuse issues, they also will help advocate for pharmacists to be able to continue their careers. For instance, they can assist with various licensure concerns, such as obtaining new DEA licenses and obtaining and maintaining malpractice insurance. 

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PRN and Mental Health / Substance Abuse Evaluations

TSBP also utilizes the services of PRN to perform mental health or substance abuse evaluations for pharmacists who are the subject of TSBP investigations or disciplinary action. In many cases, licensing board investigators will request that pharmacists they are currently investigating undergo an evaluation to determine whether they have impairments due to mental health and/or substance abuse concerns. Investigators also request evaluations to determine if allowing the pharmacists to continue to practice pending their investigations poses any harm to the public. 

The detailed information that PRN obtains during a typical evaluation can be invaluable for both the TSBP and the pharmacist to determine whether an impairment exists. This information can be critical, as impairment may be a mitigating factor in any sanction the TSBP imposes on the pharmacist. Likewise, an impairment may enable TSBP to offer rehabilitative services to the pharmacist rather than simply imposing harsh sanctions. In this matter, the pharmacist may be able to recover and resume their career rather than losing their career altogether.  

Count on Bertolino LLP, to Defend Your Pharmacist License from Disciplinary Action

When a complaint threatens your ability to earn a living, you need a seasoned pharmacist license defense attorney on your side. We will defend you against these attacks on the credentials you have worked so hard to earn. Contact the lawyers of Bertolino LLP today by calling (512) 515-9518 or visiting us online.

Call or text (512) 476-5757 or complete a Case Evaluation form