How Do Criminal Convictions Affect Your Pharmacist’s License

Complaints against pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacies go to the Texas State Board of Pharmacy (“the Board”) for investigation, evaluation, and potential disciplinary proceedings. However, arrests, criminal charges, and convictions also can lead to disciplinary proceedings. If you fall subject to a disciplinary complaint before the Board, an experienced pharmacist license defense lawyer can assist you through the investigative process, informal negotiations, and any formal disciplinary proceedings that may result. We can explain the full range of available alternatives to resolve your case and work to reach a reasonable outcome before the Board.

When Criminal Behavior Leads to Board Disciplinary Action

Tex. Occ. Code Sec. 565.001 lists several situations related to criminal activity that may be grounds for disciplinary action against a licensed pharmacist or pharmacist technician. For instance, the Board may take disciplinary action against a pharmacist who has been convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication community supervision or deferred disposition or the applicable federal equivalent for a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude or under Chapter 481 or 483, Health and Safety Code, or the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 (21 U.S.C. Section 801 et seq.); or a felony. Likewise, the Board may discipline a pharmacist who has been convicted or adjudicated of a criminal offense that requires registration as a sex offender under Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure.

As indicated above, a conviction for a criminal offense is not necessary for the Board to take disciplinary action. An individual may have been placed on deferred adjudication community supervision or deferred disposition, which may result in the criminal charges later being dismissed. Furthermore, a pharmacist could be arrested for a criminal act, such as driving while intoxicated, and, ultimately, never face criminal charges or later have the charges dismissed. Nonetheless, if the Board believes that the incident that occurs is indicative of the pharmacist engaging in intemperate use of alcohol that could endanger a patient’s life, then the Board still could take disciplinary action against a patient. 

22 Tex. Admin. Code Sec. 281.63(g) states that the Board has legal authority to impose disciplinary sanctions upon pharmacists who commit criminal offenses that are grounds for discipline under the Act. Criminal offenses are grounds for discipline if they “directly relate” to the occupation of a pharmacist or the operation of a pharmacy when taking into account the following factors:

  • The nature and seriousness of the crime;
  • The relationship of the crime to the purposes for requiring a license or registration to engage in the occupation of the licensee or registrant or the operation of a pharmacy;
  • The extent to which a license or registration might allow the licensee or registrant to repeat the criminal activity in which the person had been involved; and
  • The relationship of the crime to the ability, capacity, or fitness required to perform the duties and discharge the licensee’s or registrant’s responsibilities.

Based on these criteria, the Board has determined that the following offenses directly relate to the practice of pharmacy: 

  • Practicing or operating a pharmacy without a license or registration and other violations of the Pharmacy Act;
  • Deceptive business practices under the Texas Penal Code;
  • Medicare or Medicaid fraud;
  • A misdemeanor or felony offense under the Texas Penal Code involving: murder, assault, burglary, robbery, theft, sexual assault, injury to a child or older adult, child abuse or neglect, tampering with a governmental record, forgery, perjury, failure to report abuse, bribery, harassment, insurance claim fraud, driving while intoxicated, solicitation of professional employment, mail fraud; or
  • Any criminal offense that requires the individual to register with the Department of Public Safety as a sex offender under Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure.
  • Any crime of moral turpitude;
  • A misdemeanor or felony offense under Chapters 431 and 481 through 486, Health and Safety Code and the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970; or
  • Other misdemeanors or felonies that serve as grounds for discipline under the Act, including violations of the Penal Code, Titles 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10, which indicate an inability or tendency for the person to be unable to perform as a licensee or registrant, or to be unfit for licensure or registration if action by the board will promote the intent of the Pharmacy Act, board rules including this chapter, and Occupations Code, Chapter 53.

Sanctions for Disciplinary Actions Against Pharmacists

The Board has the authority to impose various sanctions against a pharmacist in the context of disciplinary proceedings. Under Tex. Occ. Code Sec. 565.051, these sanctions may include:

  • License suspension, revocation, or restriction for a set period;
  • Imposition of an administrative penalty or monetary fine;
  • Refusal to issue or renew the person’s license;
  • Placement of the individual’s license on probation and under supervision by the board for a set period determined, subject to certain requirements, including the following:
    • Reporting regularly to the Board on matters that are the basis of the probation;
    • Limiting practice to the areas prescribed by the board;
    • Continuing or reviewing professional education until the license holder attains a degree of skill satisfactory to the board in each area that is the basis of the probation; or
    • Paying the board a probation fee to defray the costs of monitoring the license holder during the period of probation;
  • Issuing a reprimand to the person;
  • Retirement of the person’s license as provided by Board rule; or
  • Imposition of more than one of the sanctions listed in this subsection.

22 Tex. Admin. Code Sec. 281.65 includes a schedule of administrative penalties that apply to specific violations of the rules or laws that govern pharmacists. These penalties range from a low of $250 to a high of $5,000 per violation. TSBP may assess administrative penalties instead of or in addition to other sanctions during a pharmacist’s disciplinary proceedings. 

If the individual’s disciplinary proceedings are based on a criminal offense, and the Board determines that a criminal offense directly relates to the pharmacist’s occupation or operation of a pharmacy, then the Board considers the following factors to decide upon the severity of the disciplinary sanctions:

  • The extent and nature of the person’s past criminal activity;
  • The amount of time that has elapsed since the person’s last criminal activity;
  • The person’s rehabilitation or rehabilitative effort while incarcerated or following release as corroborated by extrinsic evidence;
  • The age of the person at the time of the commission of the crime, if younger than 21 years of age at the time of the crime;
  • The conduct and work activity of the person before and following the criminal activity; and
  • Other evidence of the person’s present fitness, including letters of recommendation from:
  • Prosecution, law enforcement, and correctional officers who prosecuted, arrested, or had custodial responsibility for the person;
  • The sheriff and chief of police in the community where the person resides; and
  • Any other persons in contact with the person.

The Board also follows very specific guidelines under 22 Tex. Admin. Code §281.64 in imposing disciplinary sanctions that apply when a pharmacist is convicted of or subject to deferred adjudication community supervisions or deferred dispositions for certain criminal offenses. 

Do not hesitate to get legal assistance if facing potential disciplinary action against your pharmacist license. Retaining the services of legal counsel from the beginning of any Board investigation concerning your practice can be key to a more successful outcome in your case. Contact a Texas pharmacist license defense attorney immediately if you receive or anticipate receiving notice of disciplinary proceedings.


The Texas State Board of Pharmacy plays a crucial role in ensuring the ethical conduct and compliance of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacies with state laws and regulations. When faced with disciplinary proceedings before the Board, individuals must navigate a complex process that involves various considerations, including criminal behavior and its implications on licensure. An experienced pharmacist license defense lawyer can provide invaluable assistance throughout the investigative and disciplinary stages, advocating for the best possible outcome. Understanding the grounds for disciplinary action, the classification of grievances, and the potential sanctions imposed by the Board is essential for pharmacists to protect their professional reputation and livelihood. By addressing disciplinary matters proactively and seeking knowledgeable legal counsel, individuals can mitigate the impact of allegations and work towards a favorable resolution with the Board.

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