(Collateral Criminal Matters Effecting Pharmacy License)
If a pharmacist is convicted of a felony or misdemeanor charge, the pharmacist may face disciplinary charges by the California Department of Justice. An Accusation of discipline may be filed and heard before the Board of Pharmacy, Department of Consumer Affairs, for revocation or suspension of the pharmacist’s license. Generally, a special agent will investigate the circumstances, including calling the pharmacist for an interview, before an Accusation is filed. Once an Accusation is filed, the Pharmacist will be served with the Accusation, Statement of Respondent, Request for Discovery and Notice of Defense. Failure to timely submit a Notice of Defense will result in a Default decision and Order. Therefore, it is important to hire a qualified attorney before the filing of the criminal case as well as during the investigation by the Department of Consumer Affairs.
Applicable Codes Pertaining to the Discipline Matters of Pharmacists
- “Any person who, while on duty, sells, dispenses or compounds any drug while under the influence of any dangerous drug or alcoholic beverages shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.” See Business and Professions Code 4327.
- “No person shall prescribe, administer, or furnish a controlled substance for himself.” Health and Safety Code Section 11170.
- The Board may request the administrative law judge to direct a licentiate found to have committed a violation or violations of the licensing act to pay a sum not to exceed the reasonable costs of the investigation and enforcement of the case. Business and Professions Code Section 125.3.
- “The board shall take action against any holder of a license who is guilty of unprofessional conduct or whose license has been procured by fraud or misrepresentation or issued by mistake.” Business and Professions Code Section 4301.
Factors for Determining Penalty and Mitigation of Circumstances
Section 4300 of the Business and Professions Code provides several factors for the board to consider at the discipline phase to suspend, revoke, and/or the length of probation. Some of the factors that the Board will consider are as follows:
- Any actual or potential harm to the public;
- Any actual or potential harm to any consumer;
- Any prior disciplinary record;
- Any prior warnings, citations, or corrective action;
- The nature and severity of the conduct;
- Any aggravating evidence;
- Any mitigating evidence;
- Any rehabilitation evidence;
- Full compliance with terms of any criminal sentence, parole, or probation;
- Prior criminal record;
- Has the case been expunged or any evidence of an application for the matter to be set aside and dismissed pursuant to Penal Code 1203.4;
- Length of time passed;
- whether the conduct was intentional or negligent; and
- financial benefit to the respondent from the misconduct.
The guidelines allow for the pharmacist to present mitigating circumstances at a hearing or in the settlement process. The pharmacist has the burden to demonstrate any rehabilitative or corrective measures the pharmacist has taken.
The Khachatourians Law Group are experienced and qualified health care attorneys who advocate for professionals in criminal and licensing matters. Call Attorney Arthur Khachatourians for a defense consultation – 818-590-8294.