The pharmacists of Texas get a lot of education and jump through numerous hoops in order to obtain their licenses to practice pharmacology. They are professionals of the highest order. Yet, on occasion, an improper dispensation of medication occurs—often referred to as a “medication error.” Mistakes are made in any profession, and health care is no exception.
It should come as no surprise to a practicing pharmacist that an error in dispensing medication may result in a formal complaint being filed with the Texas State Board of Pharmacy. But there is some understanding on the part of the Board about unintentional errors. In fact, some years back the Board released a “Joint Position Statement” with the Texas Board of Nursing that acknowledged that pharmacists may not always be solely responsible for medication errors.
This Joint Position Statement was issued “for the purpose of increasing awareness of some of the factors which contribute to medication errors.” While such errors in distribution of medicines were traditionally “attributed to the individual practitioner […] reports […] suggest the majority of medical errors do not result from individual recklessness, but from basic flaws in the way the health system is organized.”
As such, the position of the Board of Pharmacy on the issue of medication errors is that a particular approach is necessary when dealing with such errors, consisting of three parts:
“(1) the individual professional’s knowledge of practice;
(2) resources available to the professional; and
(3) systems designs, problems and failures.”
Of course, the Board will still engage in an investigation of a complaint—and the three-part approach may give way to the concept of personal responsibility, especially in the case where a pharmacist has been subject to repeated complaints of such errors. And when an investigation is launched into one issue, there’s always the chance that an investigation may grow in scope to take in potential issues having nothing to do with the initial complaint. The only way to forestall such “scope creep” is to ensure you have an experienced professional license defense attorney at your side and on your case from the get-go.
When you receive notice of a complaint, therefore, it is vital that you immediately seek our advice. Permitting our firm to engage in a thorough review of allegations gives pharmacists their best chance of achieving a favorable outcome in the case.
Our law firm helps pharmacists keep their licenses when those licenses are under attack by the state.
BERTOLINO LLP proudly represents professionals and professional facilities across the entire State of Texas. To best serve our clients we have offices in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. If you are facing disciplinary action, contact us today or call (512) 476-5757 and schedule a case evaluation.