Thursday, May 31, 2012

Research Compounding Pharmacies and Pharmacists and Make Informed Decisions Before Doing Business

The following article appeared here in the Edmond Sun on October 8, 2008.  The Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy has fined or disciplined this pharmacist at least three times..  According to this article and records of the Oklahoma Board of Pharmacy, two of those violations related to compounding violations.  
This real life fact pattern poses numerous questions.  One question is:  Are disciplinary actions by state boards and the FDA sever enough?  Should the fines be stiffer?  How many times should a compounding pharmacy be allowed to violate the rules before it is shut down and the pharmacist's license revoked?  Does death of human life have to result before the pharmacy is closed and the pharmacist's license revoked?  Should more criminal actions be pursued for medical compounding errors?  Should complaints and disciplinary actions against  compounding pharmacies and pharmacists be more readily available to the public?  Is cost the sole reason there are less inspections and disciplinary actions of compounding pharmacies and pharmacists?  Wouldn't imposing more fines for violations cover any cost of  hiring additional inspectors and and conducting additional inspections?
All doctors, veterinarians, and the patients need to research the compounding pharmacy they plan to do business with by checking with the state pharmacy board and by doing an Internet search of the company and the pharmacist.  By doing the necessary research and asking penitent questions, doctors, veterinarians, and consumers can become more educated about compounding pharmacists, pharmacies, and compounded medications and make informed decisions about who to do business with.    Board suspends Edmond pharmacist Owner accused of seeing patients in place of a doctor

Mark Schlachtenhaufen

EDMOND — A state board has suspended the license of an Edmond pharmacist who filled prescription drugs without proper authorization. 

The Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy has suspended until Dec. 15 the pharmacy license of Sherry Ross, owner of Sherry’s Drug, 220 S. Littler Ave., according to board records. Ross also was fined a total of $5,500. 

During the time Ross’ license is suspended, the board said Ross may not practice pharmacy, including consulting with patients, and Ross may not be present at Sherry’s Drug. Ross will be on probation from Dec. 15 through Aug. 10, 2013.

The board found that Ross was possessing “dangerous drugs” without a valid prescription, and that she dispensed the drugs to patients who did not have a valid patient-doctor relationship. Ross also failed to ensure that the prescription had been issued for a “legitimate medical purpose by an authorized practitioner” and that she submitted “fraudulent” billing reports, according to the board.

A message left for Ross at Sherry’s Drug on Wednesday was not immediately returned.

Pharmacy board compliance officer Gary LaRue said under state rules, patients must have a relationship with a doctor in order to get prescription drugs. Normally, patients take a prescription written by a doctor to the pharmacy to get it filled.

Ross was working with patients who were unhappy with their doctors to obtain their hormone replacement medication, LaRue said. Ross would dispense medication to patients without the patients ever seeing a doctor, he said.

“Ross was more or less acting as their doctor,” LaRue said. 

LaRue said he thinks Ross is a “good” pharmacist, very knowledgeable about what she does and good with patients, but she must abide by the rules. 

LaRue said the board became aware of Ross’ violations after it reprimanded Dr. Paul Edmonds, an obstetrician-gynecologist. LaRue said Edmonds had an agreement with Ross involving seeing patients, and he was not seeing them.

“That was the problem,” LaRue said.

This was not Ross’ first reprimand by the board. 

In February 2005, Ross was cited for 11 counts that included improper substitution on a compounded prescription, record-keeping and filling prescriptions before having a written prescription.

Under an agreed-upon order, Ross was fined and placed on probation. Ross also was listed in board minutes in April 2005 and in July 2005.

This record of violation also appears on the Oklahoma State Pharmacy Board's website:

Ross, Sherry Lynn Covert, R.Ph. LIC. #9815Edmond
Charge: Allowing unlicensed person to compound drugs; manufacturing without a permit.
Action: 3 yr. probation 4/94 and fined.  Click here.

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