Every state has a State Pharmacy Board that regulates its pharmacists. But the truth of the matter is that some state boards monitor more pharmacists than others and have more complaints over other states. However, the number of complaints and the number of pharmacists being disciplined varies from year to year within each state.
Because each state board exists to protect the public—it is their job to investigate complaints and initiate disciplinary action against pharmacists. The Pennsylvania State Pharmacy Board is doing just that, according to an investigation by Channel 11, the number of pharmacists in Pennsylvania being disciplined has increased.
The investigation, in fact, has revealed that 106 sanctions against pharmacists occurred between 2012 and 2013. Not only does this mean that pharmacy errors in Pennsylvania are increasing—it indicates the number of pharmacists being disciplined is actually the highest in five years.
There are 3,297 pharmacists in the state that the Pennsylvania State Pharmacy Board monitors, and the board received 654 complaints so far this year, which is up from 477 complaints from last year.
What’s Causing the Spike?
According to the investigation by Channel 11, some of the disciplinary actions involved pharmacists convicted of crimes, such as arrests for selling drugs and smuggling misbranded drugs into the U.S. However, not all of the violations were caused by pharmacists committing crimes. In fact, sometimes horrible pharmacy errors happen that also lead to pharmacists being disciplined by the state board.
Interestingly, most of all of the pharmacists that were disciplined still have their license, as Channel 11 reported that the board has only revoked a license 10 times over the last five-year period.