New York Pharmacist License Defense

Pharmacist is a noble profession. Pharmacists make a good living, but more importantly, they play a crucial role in the fabric of our healthcare system. It's not a profession anyone goes into lightly, though. Yes, the educational component, and particularly the chemistry knowledge required, can be daunting. It's also crucial, though, that pharmacists have the strongest ethical and moral values. Any time you're working drugs, you need a strong internal compass.

It should come as no surprise, then, that a state like New York maintains a rigorous set of criteria for all pharmacists in the state. If you want a license, you don't just need a B.A. and a Pharm.d degree. You have to file a complex application, pass an examination, pay fees, and demonstrate “good moral character.” Fair enough: no one wants to think the person behind the counter filling prescriptions is just someone who walked in off the streets. Once you've put in all that time and effort, though, you don't want to lose your license over something silly. Any time your license is threatened, you want to make absolutely sure you take it seriously.

What does that mean? It means you need to find out everything you can about the charges against you. You can't properly defend yourself if you aren't clear on what you're supposed to have done. You also need a firm grasp of New York State's license defense procedures. What kind of judicial process will you be facing, and what can you do to prepare? The bottom line, though, is that you can't hope to be successful by going it alone. New York gives you the right to hire an attorney to represent you in any professional license cases. You should take full advantage of that right by hiring a firm that's experienced with license defenses: the Lento Law Firm.

The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team is dedicated to helping professionals protect their careers and their livelihoods. We know how important pharmacists are. We know how hard you've worked to get to this point in your career. We're ready to fight to make sure you're treated fairly and that you get the very best possible resolution to your case. To find out more, call us today at 888-535-3686 or use our online form.

Just What Can Put Your Pharmacist License at Risk?

First things first: just what is it that can put your pharmacy license at risk? There's a lot expected of you, but what is it that can actually lead to an investigation or a hearing?

Of course, you're subject to the Board of Pharmacy, which is made up of at least nine pharmacists and two pharmacy techs from around the state who each serve five-year terms. That Board, though, is under the control of the New York State Board of Regents, which operates the state's Office of Professions (PO) governing all professional licensing in New York.

That's a complicated system with lots of moving parts. You're subject to a great many rules and statutes. There are misdemeanor offenses, like failing to display your license. There are laws prohibiting the mislabeling of drugs, the adulterating of drugs, and the distribution of drugs door-to-door. There are even special provisions for what to do in case of a fire. The Board of Regents maintains additional rules for everything from how to enter written prescriptions into electronic databases to what constitutes "proper supervision" of pharmacy techs. None of that even takes into account more fundamental requirements of your profession like the Code of Ethics for Pharmacists.

Here, though, are the most common misconduct allegations we see among pharmacists in New York state.

  • Unprofessional Conduct: This is a broad category of offense that can include things like advertising products or services that are not in the public interest, violating any law specifically associated with the practice of pharmacy, and exercising undue influence over a client. Given New York's emphasis on pharmacists' "good moral character," any type of criminal conviction can also be used to justify a charge of unprofessional conduct.
  • Misuse or Mishandling of Drugs: Of course, there are numerous individual New York statutes that relate to how you handle drugs and to whom you can dispense drugs. Further, because of the nature of your profession, pharmacists are frequent targets of illegal drug usage and distribution investigations.
  • Patient Privacy: The law requires you to protect patient records. Even digital breaches, which may seem out of your control, can result in charges.
  • Fraud: Like any other business, a pharmacy is subject to charges of fraud in its business dealings. Pharmacists have special obligations, though, with regard to insurance. Overbilling, double-billing, and charging prescriptions to non-existent patients can all result in investigations into your competency and credentials.

Keep in mind that minor mistakes can sometimes be interpreted as evidence of more serious misconduct. Failing to record a prescription in the proper database, for example, may be nothing more than a small slip, but an investigator could treat it as evidence of fraud or drug misuse.

Whatever the allegations against you, you need the best representation you can get. It often happens that pharmacists and other professionals decide not to retain counsel because they know they are innocent. Innocence doesn't always protect you. The attorneys at the Lento Law Firm can make sure that investigators and board decision-makers don't misinterpret the facts.

The Disciplinary Process for Pharmacists in New York

Again, the disciplinary process for all professionals in New York state, including pharmacists is under the control of the Office of Professions (OP).

  1. First, someone makes a complaint about you to the OP.
  2. The OP then undertakes an investigation into the matter.
  3. If you are officially charged after the investigation, the OP holds a formal hearing into the matter.
  4. If you are found guilty, the OP assigns a sanction, but you have the right to judicial review of the organization's decisions.

Here's what you can expect with each of these steps.


Licensing cases almost always begin with a specific complaint. That complaint can come from almost anywhere, and in fact, the Office of Professions website includes a digital complaint form.

Most often, though, complaints arise from

  • Customers
  • Supervisors
  • Colleagues
  • Employees you supervise
  • Other staff
  • Insurers

Finally, it's important you recognize that the state Board of Pharmacy conducts regular inspections and assessments, and these can also lead to complaints against you.

However, a complaint is not the same as a guilty finding, and it doesn't mean you will be found guilty. Even at this very early stage in the process, your Lento Law Firm attorney can help to minimize the potential damage of a complaint. Our attorneys are skilled at talking with investigators and prosecutors and can sometimes help them understand that a misunderstanding or a false complaint isn't worth pursuing. Additionally, they are experienced negotiators with a long track record of working out equitable deals without the hassle of a lengthy investigation.

Make no mistake, though, we are here to fight for your best interests.


If the OP decides a complaint is both credible and actionable, it will then instigate an official investigation into the matter. Investigators have the complaint itself to consider, and they often interview Complainants (accusers, alleged victims). They'll also offer you an invitation to provide your side of the story. They'll collect any physical evidence, and you can expect them to conduct interviews with anyone connected to the case.

You have a right to review any information the investigation uncovers, but you can also expect your Lento Law Firm attorney to conduct their own investigation, review documents, and talk with witnesses.

At this point, investigators can decide that there's no merit to a case. If that happens, they'll drop the case entirely.

If, on the other hand, investigators decide to proceed to a formal charge, the OP will issue you a Notice of the Charges at least twenty-five days before the date of the hearing. This Notice should include a detailed explanation of the allegations against you and a list of your due process rights.


An OP hearing resembles a criminal case, at least in outline. That is, both sides make their arguments before a hearing panel. You can expect this panel to contain at least three panelists, and at least two of these must be members of the Board of Pharmacy. Both sides may be represented by counsel. Both sides may present physical evidence and call witnesses to testify. Both sides may cross-examine any witnesses against them.

You can expect your Lento Law Firm attorney to represent you in every aspect of your case, just as they would if you were on trial.

However, it is important to remember that an OP hearing is not a criminal trial.

  • Generally speaking, the rules of such hearings are more relaxed than those of criminal trials, especially in terms of the presentation of evidence.
  • In addition, the panelists are not trained judges. In most instances, they have no legal training at all other than a broad familiarity with their own professional disciplines.
  • Cases aren't decided based on the legal standard "beyond a reasonable doubt." Panelists employ a lesser standard known as "preponderance of the evidence." If they are more than fifty percent convinced you committed an offense or violation, they must find you guilty.

These differences are one reason why it is so important you have a Lento Law Firm attorney in particular. A local or family attorney won't be familiar with the rules and procedures of a professional licensing case.

The Lento Law Firm, on the other hand, was built specifically to defend professionals. Our attorneys know the law as it applies to pharmacists in New York, and we're familiar with the New York Office of Professions.

Hearing Outcomes

If the hearing panel finds you guilty, they will hold additional meetings to determine appropriate sanctions. According to state law, sanctions can include,

  • Censure and reprimand
  • Suspension of license, partially or wholly
  • Revocation of license
  • Annulment of license
  • Limitation on future licenses
  • A fine not to exceed $10,000 per offense
  • Required education or training
  • Required community service

Ultimately, though, the hearing panel only makes a recommendation to the Board of Regents, which runs the Office of Professions. The Board actually reviews every decision and determines whether or not to act on the recommendations. This represents a de facto appeals process for every case.

Further, you have the right of judicial review, an appeal before a civil court judge.

The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team can be an invaluable resource throughout the appeals process. They can advise you as to whether an appeal is likely to succeed, they can work with you to gather evidence and draft documents, and most importantly, they can ensure your rights are respected at every step along the way.

Why You Need a Professional License Defense Team

It should be clear at this point why you need an attorney to help you if your pharmacist license comes under threat.

  • First, absolutely everything about your career is at stake. License revocation is always a potential outcome in a board hearing. Should you lose your license, it almost certainly means changing careers.
  • Pharmacist misconduct cases can be difficult to defend. New York licensing law is complicated enough. PO rules and procedures are complex as well. Added to these difficulties, though, the actions at issue in these cases can often be hard to sort out. They can require subtle interpretations of the law. The attorneys at the Lento Law Firm are trained to understand how extra-judicial systems operate. They know the New York licensing system and can help you to navigate it.
  • You may be used to thinking of the Board of Pharmacy and the PO as advocates. The agencies work on your behalf in New York. They run the licensing system, for instance. They keep you informed and up to date on changes in the law and what kind of continuing education credits you need. The moment you are accused of wrongdoing, however, you and the PO are on opposing sides. It's the agency's job to fully investigate you, to prosecute you, and, if necessary, to sanction you. You need someone in your corner to make sure your interests are protected.

Not just any lawyer will do, though.

The attorneys at the Lento Law Firm are dedicated to helping professionals. The firm's Professional License Defense Team knows the law, and they're familiar with the New York licensing system. They've literally helped hundreds of professionals respond to charges. They can help you to do the same.

What Can the Lento Law Firm Do for You?

Your pharmacist license means everything to you. It gives you the right to practice your profession. It certifies that you are qualified and experienced. It lets customers know that you can be trusted. If that license is being threatened in any way, you can't afford to take chances. You absolutely must do everything you can to defend yourself, and that starts with hiring the best legal representation you can.

The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team understands your situation. They understand what kinds of pressures you face every day and just how important what you do is. They believe in you, and they're ready to fight to ensure you get the justice you deserve.

To find out more about exactly what the Lento Law Firm can do for you, contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 or use our online form.


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.
The Lento Law Firm will gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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