WHEN YOUR PHARMACY POSTS "ON PROBATION" SIGNS

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By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

March 13, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)--This pharmacy is on probation. When this sign is posted on your neighborhood pharmacy’s wall it is easy to miss.  After all, people do not always read the posted signs anywhere. People walk by signs all the time. Especially if you are sick and standing in line waiting to pick up your prescription before you dash home to recover and sleep.

But what is your reaction?   Count your prescription pills! Will this make them better or worse when they are on probation?  How do I find out what they are on probation for?  Some have never seen a sign like this in a pharmacy in their whole lifetime.

And for anyone who has not gone to a restaurant after their rating changed from an A grade--  how would they react to this sign?  A reaction can depend in part on what happened.

The answer to finding out what any pharmacy did can be found on the Department of Consumer Affairs – Board of Pharmacy website at www.pharmacy.ca.gov/ . Know the address or pharmacy’s license number and you will find the legal documents relating to what your pharmacy (or any pharmacy) did wrong.  In the case of an East County pharmacy, CVS in Santee, an employee was selling narcotics obtained in the pharmacy to an outside dealer. 

The organization, CVS, is to be credited with having a Loss Prevention employee know or be tipped off to monitor closely a surveillance camera that filmed what was going on.  The video tape revealed exactly what the individual, only identified as T.P. in the documents, was doing. One of his methods  was taking narcotics like Vicodin out to the trash cans, stashing them in bags, and coming back later to put up the drugs according to the online documents.

T.P. claimed his accomplice was selling the drugs for as much as $350 a bottle.  The employee, as would be expected, no longer works there.  But what remains is the probation status for this location which runs from 10/15/14 to and including 10/14/17.  The sign is required by law to be posted in a visible spot to customers.

Joyia Emard, Public Information Officer with the California State Board of Pharmacy, Department of Consumer Affairs,  passed along  a link  to view documents regarding this event. 

http://www2.dca.ca.gov/pls/wllpub/WLLQRYNA$LCEV2.QueryView?P_LICENSE_NUMBER=47974&P_LTE_ID=774

And  http://www.pharmacy.ca.gov/enforcement/fy1213/ac124819.

Other documents that Emard passed along listed three other businesses in the San Diego area that were on probation or had been.  Due to space limitations they cannot all be listed.  Visit the links or websites provided to see details.

Part of the conditions of probation are to not mislead the public if they ask what happened.

Any business who has ever hired someone “who slipped thru the cracks” and was arrested, charged, and convicted of a crime can question themselves or their human resources department on how it happened.  Hindsight is always a clearer view of a person’s character than might have been evident previously.

What remains is the pharmacy is still in operation and available to use.  Probation can make a pharmacy stronger in its procedures and hiring practices.

If you see a sign like this in the future, know you have a right to an answer if you ask about it.  To some just getting your antibiotics for a sick kid is and will be the primary goal.  To others they will want to know what happened.  It might be a stop sign to them.


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