Being a professional pharmacist in New Mexico is not easy. It takes years of hard work, perseverance, and studies to attain the skills needed to secure a pharmacist’s license in New Mexico. This is the prerequisite as all pharmacists serving the public must hold it, or else they will be discharging their services illegally. It is sad to see all the hard work you put into acquiring this license going down the drain after being found in a situation that threatens it.
The New Mexico Board of Pharmacy is responsible for issuing out these licenses and can revoke them depending on the situation. If you land in trouble and find yourself facing charges that threaten your license, enlist the services of a professional Albuquerque pharmacist license defense lawyer who will represent your case and stand-in for you before the board. Here at FBD Law, our attorneys have extensive experience handling professional license defense cases.
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Reasons Pharmacists Can Lose Their License in New Mexico
Pharmacists are ordinary people, and they also go through tough situations like any other person. Some of these situations might put them on the wrong side of the law, and in such cases, the New Mexico Board of Pharmacy might have to step in. This is because pharmacists are expected to conduct themselves in a certain way since they are public servants and need to set a good example for other people.
The following are a few instances highlighted by the New Mexico Board of Pharmacy that may warrant the revocation of one’s license.
The New Mexico law states that “the board may suspend or revoke the license or registration of a licensee, registrant or owner of a pharmacy following a felony conviction or a state or federal controlled substance or food and drug law conviction.” Those that hold these licenses are expected to steer clear of any crimes, including murder, assault, robbery, sexual assault, bribery, and forgery, among others.
Incompetence or Negligence
Pharmacists are subjected to rigorous tests to ensure that they have the skills needed to administer the correct drugs to patients. However, some cases of incompetency are common, and they involve administering the wrong medications and dosages that could even threaten the life of the patient. Other instances are failing to provide the required amount of verbal counseling needed to assess a patient’s allergies or failing to act when they realize a patient is overusing certain drugs.
Assigning Inappropriate Duties
People who run pharmacies are expected to designate the correct duties to their juniors. Assigning employees, for instance, pharmacy technicians, work that is above their qualification can cost you the license.
Pharmacists are also expected to keep patient records confidential and adhere to all HIPAA requirements.
Pharmacists are expected to be honest when dealing with patients and not engage in any fraudulent behavior. Allegations of deceptive billing, defrauding Medicare, and other insurance schemes can make you lose your practicing license.
Not Completing Continuing Education
Once you get a license, the board specifies that you should always update your skillset by continuing with studies. If you do not do this, you could end up losing your license since the board will not consider you to be qualified to do the job well.
How Does the New Mexico Board of Pharmacy Handle Discipline Cases?
The New Mexico Board of Pharmacy meets every other month to discuss issues brought before it. Most of them are related to violations by individual pharmacists, and they can agree on a couple of possible actions depending on the facts presented.
The board schedules an administrative hearing that borrows many things from the traditional judicial hearings. Here, the plaintiff is the state, and the defendant is the licensee. The plaintiff, represented by a public prosecutor, will present the case before the board, and the licensee will be allowed to respond to the allegations leveled against them directly.
The licensee can choose to represent themself. However, it is prudent to hire an expert lawyer who has been through these administrative hearings and understands the best way to respond to the allegations and save your license.
Just as it is with the traditional judicial system, the board will gather the facts from both parties and then deliberate on the matter. The final decision will then be announced or published, and a written copy of the same is mailed to the licensee. The nature of the ruling depends on how both sides presented their case and how the board perceived the matter.
The board can give a wide range of decisions depending on what they think is necessary to punish the licensee and deter them from such behavior in the future.
Dismissal of the Case
If the case presented by the prosecutor does not violate any of the New Mexico Board of Pharmacy’s regulations, the Board will not sanction the licensee. This is commonly seen when there is a misrepresentation of the case, or a competent Pharmacist License Defense attorney presents facts contrary to what the prosecutor claimed. Here, the case will be closed, and the licensee will be allowed to practice normally.
At times, the case presented by the prosecutor shows some level of misconduct by the licensee, but not enough to warrant a direct revocation of their license. This is mostly seen in cases where the misconduct was purely accidental, and the accused had no or very little control over their actions. Here, the board will highlight their concerns about the conduct or competency of the licensee, but only issue an advisory letter since the matter did not rise to the level of violation.
Ruling Against the Accused’s License
For the extreme cases, where the evidence shows gross misconduct, the Board will issue a ruling against the accused’s license. This happens when the prosecutor’s evidence is strong and proves that the licensee violated the Board’s regulations. Here, the Board will take action depending on the severity of the violations. Minor violations might result in a reprimand, temporary license suspension, or the requirement of additional education or other obligation. A pharmacist has the right to appeal the Board’s decision to a district court judge.
Overview of Pharmacist Standard of Care
The regulations that define pharmacist standards of care mainly cover how these professionals are expected to conduct themselves when issuing drugs or managing their juniors. Drugs are utilized by patients to treat their conditions, and a pharmacist must provide the correct drug in the correct dosage. Failing to do this could be a violation of the pharmacist’s standard of care. This could result in a Board complaint.
In managing junior pharmacists, a pharmacist is expected to delegate duties that any technician can handle based on their qualifications and experience. This is important as it ensures that the decisions taken by this junior employee do not affect the wellbeing of the members of the public who they are tasked to serve.
How Can a Pharmacist License Defense Lawyer Help My Case?
When you have an issue affecting your license before the New Mexico Pharmacy Board, it is prudent to enlist the services of an experienced attorney if you want to increase the chances of you retaining the license. The prosecution team is experienced in presenting cases against licensees, and you need to have a strong defense if you want to sway the board.
A lawyer will start by investigating the matter beforehand and gathering the evidence needed to negate the accusations leveled against you. When the hearing is scheduled, your lawyer will present your side of things before the board. They understand how these processes span out, and they will know the best approach to take.
In a nutshell, a pharmacist license defense attorney gives you the best chance of retaining your professional license when you have an issue before the New Mexico Board of Pharmacy. You need an expert to guide you through the process by conducting an independent case assessment, before giving you a clear picture of how exposed you are and the possible outcomes of the case.
Get In Touch With An Albuquerque Pharmacist License Defense Lawyer
Regardless of where your licensing issues arise, be it allegations of a crime or professional misconduct, our team of experts have the skills and experience to handle it and get you the best outcome possible. These matters are complex and require a deep understanding of the New Mexico State laws and New Mexico Pharmacy Board rules, things that cannot be grasped in a short time.
We at FBD Law are here to protect years of hard work and ensure that you retain your license and continue serving the great people of New Mexico. If you have a licensing issue with the New Mexico Pharmacy Board, contact us today at (505) 842-9960, and we will be glad to help you.