An investigatory notice from the Texas State Board of Pharmacy (TSBP) can put any pharmacist on edge. Complaints may range from failing to disclose information on a license renewal application to allowing non-technicians to handle medications.
The Complaint Resolution Process
The Texas State Board of Pharmacy evaluates all written complaints. The board investigates all complaints that fall under its jurisdiction and that violate Texas drug and pharmacy laws. An investigator handles the preliminary stages of the complaint resolution process. He or she will collect information to determine if the board should issue a formal notice against the pharmacy professional in question.
Minor complaints often result in a spoken or written warning. Small oversights and honest mistakes may fall into this category. The board always gives accused licensees the opportunity to defend themselves against more serious allegations through an informal show compliance and settlement conference (ISC).
The ISC hearing panel will listen to the licensee’s case and issue a settlement recommendation. A panel may dismiss the case, issue a warning, or issue a sanction based on the information presented. Sanctions often take the form of “Agreed Board Orders.” If all parties agree to these sanctions and submit the order into public record, it becomes legally binding.
What is an Agreed Board Order (ABO)?
An Agreed Board Order (ABO) is an agreement a licensee may accept if he or she cannot secure a dismissal but wants to settle the pending claim. The TSBP may also issue an ABO in lieu of an informal hearing. Both the licensee and the board must agree to the terms of the order for it to go into effect. Those who secure ABOs neither admit nor deny wrongdoing regarding the original complaint, but do accept disciplinary action for the complaint.
An ABO typically reflects the seriousness and type of the grievance. One of the most recently published Texas State Board of Pharmacy Disciplinary Actions files for December 2015 to February 2016 included several ABOs:
- An Arlington pharmacist agreed to an ABO for allowing nonskilled employees to perform pharmacy technician duties. The TSBP fined his license $2,000 via the ABO.
- A pharmacy mailed medications to Texans without a valid license. The TSBP fined the license $5,000.
- A McKinney pharmacist made a dispensing error and agreed to a two-year probation and increased continuing education requirements.
When Agreed Board Orders Make Sense
An ABO may make more sense than a State Office of Administrative Hearings proceeding in certain cases. An ABO gives pharmacy professionals a way to settle minor allegations that do not pose long-term career consequences. Before you agree to an ABO, talk to a Texas pharmacy license defense attorney to explore your options. Your attorney may help you negotiate for a fairer ABO in many complaint cases.
The Bertolino LLP team provides legal support for all Texas State Board of Pharmacy matters. Call us today at (512) 476-5757 or reach us online to schedule a case evaluation.
BERTOLINO LLP proudly represents licensed professionals across the entire State of Texas. To best serve our clients we have offices in Austin, Houston and San Antonio.