Delaware Pharmacist License Defense

After devoting years of work to earning your pharmacy degree, thousands of hours training as a pharmacy intern, long nights making sure you would pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) and the Multi-State Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE), all so you would qualify to hold a pharmacist license in Delaware, you want to do everything you can to make sure you keep it. If you receive a notice from the Delaware Board of Pharmacy (BOP) that a misconduct complaint has been filed against you, it's important to take it seriously and make sure you properly defend yourself and protect your rights through what may be a difficult process.

The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team understands how important your pharmacy license is to you. Our experienced attorneys also understand the laws, regulations, and procedures that apply to pharmacist disciplinary investigations and proceedings in Delaware. We are here to help you protect your license and your future; call us today at 888.535.3686 or schedule a confidential consultation with one of our experienced license defense attorneys to find out how the Lento Law Firm can help you.

Ways the Delaware Board of Pharmacy Can Discipline Pharmacists

The Board of Pharmacy has the power to impose a number of different types of discipline on a pharmacist found to have violated one or more of the laws or regulations that pharmacists are expected to observe in their practices and personal lives. According to Delaware law, the BOP can:

  • Issue a letter of reprimand to the pharmacist
  • Censure the pharmacist
  • Place the pharmacist on probation, which can involve having to report periodically to the BOP, limiting the scope of the work that they do as a pharmacist, taking and passing certain courses, or other steps as decided by the BOP
  • Fining the pharmacist up to $500 per violation
  • Suspending the pharmacist's license until the BOP has determined that the pharmacist has remedied the problems that led to the suspension
  • Revoking the pharmacist's license

Sanctions like these don't just appear out of nowhere. If a misconduct complaint is filed against you that the BOP intends to investigate, you will be notified of the complaint and will have a chance to respond to it. This is when it can be enormously helpful to contact the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team. Our experienced attorneys can help you prepare and submit a detailed and effective response to the complaint and will be by your side through the investigation and disciplinary process, fighting to protect your rights and your license.

What Standards Does Delaware Expect Pharmacists to Uphold?

Pharmacists in Delaware are generally expected to follow all laws, regulations, and rules that relate to what's called the “Practice of Pharmacy” in the state. The “Practice of Pharmacy” includes:

  • The interpretation, evaluation, and dispensing of prescriptions
  • Proper preparation of drugs for patients, including “compounding, labeling, packaging, and dispensing” of drugs
  • Applying the pharmacist's knowledge of “pharmaceutics, pharmacology, pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, drug and food interactions, drug product selection, and patient counseling” to the pharmacist's work
  • Participating in drug use and drug regimen reviews
  • Being involved in “therapeutic drug selection,” including substitution of equivalent drugs where necessary
  • Advising patients and health care practitioners about the “total scope of drug therapy,” the goal being to “deliver the best care possible.”
  • Monitoring patients' drug therapy
  • Performing and interpreting blood tests for various purposes
  • Properly operating and managing a pharmacy
  • Properly administering appropriate “injectable medications” and immunizations
  • Ordering, performing, and interpreting certain tests

Because pharmacists typically prepare, dispense, and administer a wide range of regulated drugs and medical devices, they're expected to be aware of and follow a substantial number of federal and state laws, rules, and regulations. Violations of any of these, whether intentional or accidental, can lead to a misconduct complaint being filed with the Delaware BOP and a disciplinary investigation and proceedings.

Grounds for Pharmacist Discipline in Delaware

Delaware's Division of Professional Regulation (DPR) is responsible for investigating and, together with the BOP, disciplining pharmacists found to have violated professional standards in the state. There are more than a dozen specific types of misconduct under Delaware law and state regulations that can lead to a pharmacist being disciplined. These include:

  • Violating state or federal laws that apply to the practice of pharmacy
  • Dispensing outdated or “questionable” drugs
  • Charging for a more expensive drug or product than the one the pharmacist actually dispenses
  • Making unauthorized changes to pharmacy records that the pharmacist is legally required to maintain
  • Dispensing medication without proper authorization
  • Committing any type of fraud in connection with the practice of pharmacy
  • Providing “kickbacks” to anyone for referring patients to the pharmacist
  • Practicing while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Breaching patient confidentiality
  • Committing acts that “would discredit the profession of pharmacy”
  • Being convicted of one of any number of crimes that are considered to be “substantially related to the practice of pharmacy.”
  • Practicing pharmacy in an illegal, incompetent, or negligent manner
  • Having their license suspended or revoked by, or being subject to discipline in, another state

In short, the DPR and the BOP can discipline a pharmacist for many different types of misconduct, some relating directly to the practice of pharmacy and others that may seem to be unrelated but which are ones that Delaware has determined discredit or are substantially related to the practice of pharmacy.

Don't Assume the Truth Will Protect You From Pharmacist License Disciplinary Sanctions in Delaware

One very natural reaction when you learn that a misconduct complaint has been filed with the DPR against you is to try to bring the whole thing to as quick a conclusion as possible. You may think that reaching out directly to the DPR, or to the investigator assigned to the complaint, to explain “what really happened” can help. Unfortunately, in most cases it won't. And in some cases, it could make things worse for you.

Investigations of misconduct complaints are covered by Delaware law, which requires the investigator to file a report with the DPR “at the conclusion of the investigator's investigation.” This report must list “the evidence reviewed” as well as “the witnesses interviewed.” The report must also cite “the law or regulation alleged to have been violated” as well as the “facts to support such finding.” Finally, it also needs to contain a recommendation on whether to dismiss the complaint or prosecute the matter; this needs to be signed by the Director of the DPR.

All of these requirements mean that there is no shortcut when it comes to the investigative process. Your contact with the investigator is unlikely to have any effect on the investigation. One danger, in fact, is that the investigator may misunderstand the information you provide and use that against you.

There is a time and place to tell “your side of the story.” The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team can help you find that time and place. In most cases, it will be when you're interviewed by the DPR investigator. The interview process can be very stressful; most of us are not used to being questioned by someone who is investigating a misconduct allegation against us. One way to help with that stress is to prepare for the interview, working with your attorney to make sure you are ready to only respond to questions you understand, and that you provide clear responses to the questions asked. Your attorney can also be with you during your interview and can help make sure that the investigator's questions are clear and that your answers are understood.

The Disciplinary Process for Pharmacist Licensing Issues in Delaware

Not every complaint against a pharmacist leads to an investigation. For example, the DPR notes that it “cannot investigate complaints that solely concern billing or insurance issues.” However, when a complaint does relate to potential pharmacist misconduct, and the DPR investigation leads to a recommendation from the Director of the DPR that the pharmacist should be disciplined, the matter will be turned over to the Delaware Department of Justice. There, a Deputy Attorney General will review it and, where appropriate, will file a formal written complaint against the pharmacist with the BOP.

When a complaint is filed with the BOP by the Delaware Department of Justice, the BOP will notify the pharmacist of the time and place of the hearing that's to be conducted to resolve the complaint. Hearings follow the state's Administrative Procedures Act.

Disciplinary hearings are “informal,” meaning that the usual rules of evidence that apply in court cases in Delaware do not apply. This means that evidence that a court would not consider because it fails to meet evidentiary standards may still be considered by the BOP when it is deciding a disciplinary case. It will gather this evidence by conducting an “informal conference or consultation” where each side can “submit any relevant factual data, documents, testimony, and argument.” The BOP can then decide what it is going to take into consideration when making its decision.

Before the hearing takes place you will receive a notice from the BOP that provides information about the subject matter of the hearing, when and where the hearing is to take place, and that you have the right to present evidence and to be represented by an attorney at the hearing.

You will also likely have an opportunity to come to an agreement with the BOP about resolving your case without a hearing. This is the way the majority of professional misconduct matters are settled – through mutual agreements, not through the hearing process. The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team has experience helping licensed professionals, including pharmacists, negotiate satisfactory resolutions to disciplinary charges. Our experience with these cases means that we can propose realistic outcomes that will preserve our client's ability to work while satisfying the interests of the BOP to make sure that patients are receiving proper and effective pharmacy services.

If a settlement isn't possible, the hearing will proceed. There will be a detailed record of testimony, arguments, and evidence presented at the hearing. In addition, all notices provided to either side, correspondence with the BOP, and any orders issued during the course of the hearing process will also become part of the record.

The BOP's decision after a hearing must be in writing. It must briefly summarize the evidence; list its findings of fact based on that evidence; make conclusions of law; and state what the BOP's decision is. In cases where the decision is to revoke or suspend the pharmacist's license, that will take effect immediately.

If the BOP issues a decision against the pharmacist, the pharmacist has 30 days to appeal it to the Delaware Superior Court. The court may stay the disciplinary penalty imposed by the BOP pending the appeal, but if it doesn't issue a stay, the penalty will apply even during the appeal.

What Happens if You Are Disciplined by the Delaware Board of Pharmacy?

Disciplinary actions taken by the BOP against pharmacists become part of the pharmacist's public record. Anyone with access to the Internet can review them by conducting a search on Delaware's “License Look-Up” page. The information about the discipline imposed against the pharmacist can be seen once the pharmacist's listing is displayed.

In addition to becoming part of your public license record, you can find yourself unable to make a living as a pharmacist for however long your license is suspended or, in cases where it's revoked, permanently. If your practice is restricted, meaning you won't be allowed to perform certain tasks as a pharmacist, or if you must be monitored while you work, you could find it more difficult to work. If you are required to take additional training, you will need to make sure you find the training and the time to complete it as required by the BOP.

The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team understands what's at stake when your pharmacy license is placed at risk because of a misconduct complaint. We will always fight to defend your license and your rights, and protect your ability to make a living as a licensed pharmacist in Delaware.

How the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team Can Help

The experienced attorneys at the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team understand the laws, rules, and regulations that apply to pharmacists in Delaware. Whether you work in the Wilmington area, Bethany Beach, Seaford, Dover, or another town in the state, we are available to help defend your license and your future. Our attorneys can assist you at every step of the disciplinary process, from the day you learn a complaint has been filed against you on. We can help prepare your response to the complaint; prepare you for your interview with the DPR investigator; be with you at your interview; negotiate with the BOP on your behalf; and forcefully and fairly defend you and your license during any hearing. Where necessary, we can prepare and file appeals of BOP decisions.

Our constant goal is to protect your rights and defend your license and your future. Call the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team today at 888.535.3686 or schedule a confidential consultation to learn more about how we can help.


Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm are committed to answering your questions about Physician License Defense, Nursing License Defense, Pharmacist License Defense, Psychologist and Psychiatrist License Defense, Dental License Defense, Chiropractic License Defense, Real Estate License Defense, Professional Counseling License Defense, and Other Professional Licenses law issues nationwide.
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