- Associated Press - Friday, December 30, 2016

STAUNTON, Va. (AP) - A newspaper’s report on how Virginia disciplines pharmacists who violate the law has prompted officials to make it easier for the public to find out which medical practitioners are on probation.

The News Leader in Staunton (https://bit.ly/2idYUBt ) reviewed hundreds of pages of state records published between January 2010 and November 2016. It focused on ones involving Staunton, Waynesboro and Augusta County and found 17 area pharmacies with violations since 2010. Mistakes ranged from sloppy record-keeping to not having the proper environment for compounding drugs.

The newspaper, which published its findings in a series of stories, also reviewed records of pharmacists who were investigated. They showed one pharmacist never lost her license despite admitting to four dozen violations since 1987, including dispensing the wrong medication to patients and dispensing medicines at double the prescribed strength and at half the strength.

The woman went through two periods of probation. However, licenses that pharmacists must display don’t mention that, so customers would not have known about the probation just by visiting the pharmacy, the newspaper reported.

Furthermore, sometimes more than a year passes between when a pharmacist under suspicion of wrongdoing receives a notice of a hearing and when the public can find out about the Board of Pharmacy’s disciplinary action. According to the newspaper, no information is available to customers during that time and a pharmacist can continue to practice.

Requests by the newspaper to interview the current head of the pharmacy board were denied.

In response to questions, the state Department of Health Professions added a way to show when a pharmacist or other medical practitioner is on probation when searching case decisions or licenses online.


Information from: The News Leader, https://www.newsleader.com

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