Pharmacists provide a vital link between doctors and patients. As a highly trained medical professional, busy pharmacists must remain vigilant to ensure patients’ safety.
Pharmacists have numerous job functions including:
- Dispensing drugs prescribed by a licensed physician
- Advising or notifying prescribers of possible drug interactions
- Answering patients’ questions regarding medication to ensure safety
- Coordinating costs with insurance companies
- Overseeing pharmacy technicians
- Performing administrative tasks
Florida Pharmacist Licensure Laws and Regulations
Pharmacists are licensed healthcare professionals and must follow federal and state laws. In Florida, the Florida Board of Pharmacy handles licensing and any complaints. All healthcare professionals must be aware of any new laws that affect their profession. Here are two examples of legislation passed in July, 2021.
- HB 241 “Parents’ Bill of Rights” – This bill states that any licensed healthcare provider or facility must obtain parental consent before prescribing medication or performing healthcare services on a minor child. Failure to obtain consent may lead to criminal penalties and/or disciplinary action.
- SB 262 – This bill allows pharmacies to dispense a 48-hour supply of medication to a patient upon hospital discharge. During times of emergency, a 72-hour supply may be dispensed.
Errors on the Job
Pharmacists are human and may make a mistake. Perhaps the most serious error would involve dispensing the wrong medication or placing an incorrect label on the patient’s drug. Failure to check history or to supervise technicians also may present problems. If this happens, the patient may bring a negligence lawsuit against the pharmacist. It’s important to note that four elements must be present for this type of lawsuit to proceed.
- Duty- Did the pharmacist serve the patient’s needs?
- Breach- Did the pharmacist fail to perform this duty?
- Causation- Did this failure harm the patient?
- Damages- The patient can seek compensation.
Basically, if no harm came to the patient there is no case. Also, there are time constraints on filing this type of case. Florida Statute 95.11(4)(a) places limits on actions related to professional malpractice. Generally, the limit is two years; however, an experienced healthcare attorney can advise you regarding this matter.
Florida Pharmacist Defense Attorney
Anyone may file a complaint against a pharmacist. As a medical professional, you will not be aware of the situation until you receive a letter in the mail or a phone call regarding the incident. CALL AN EXPERIENCED HEALTH CARE ATTORNEY IMMEDIATELY. Do not answer any questions or attend any “hearings.”
Do not put anything in writing about the situation. Obviously, keep off Social Media. In fact. Only an attorney that specializes in pharmacy law can assist you. Without a proper lawyer you could lose your license or receive hefty fines. Here are some facts you may not be aware of:
- Some attorneys can only help you during the complaint and investigation process; but, they are unable to assist you if the case goes to trial.
- You may be “advised” to select an informal hearing instead of a formal hearing. Are you aware that by doing so, you have entered a guilty plea? Basically, an informal hearing is an admission of guilt. Of course, there may be times when this is prudent.
- Be aware that Settlement Agreements (SA) and Consent Orders (CO) remain on your license forever. Once again, you are guilty.
No Pharmacist should lose their livelihood because they failed to obtain adequate legal representation over a complaint.