Ohio Pharmacist Duties to Report: Ohio Board Issues Updated GuidanceDecember 1, 2020 – Legal Alerts
The Ohio Board of Pharmacy (Board) recently issued updated guidance detailing certain conduct pharmacists and other regulated personnel (Licensees) must report to the Board. Although the Board’s updated guidance largely tracks current Ohio regulations governing Licensees’ duties to report, Licensees should understand the breadth of conduct the Board considers to be reportable because a failure to comply with the Board’s guidance may result in the revocation, suspension, restriction, denial, or limitation of a license or other approval, as well as the imposition of monetary penalties.
In this context, the Board’s updated guidance can be separated into two distinct categories: (a) conduct by another Licensee, which Licensee must report to the Board and (b) personal conduct that a Licensee must self-report to the Board. Specifically, the Board’s guidance requires that Licensees report the following conduct to the Board:
A. Conduct of Other Licensees. A Licensee must report the following conduct of another Licensee to the Board:
- Conduct indicating that a Licensee is addicted to or is suspected to be abusing alcohol, drugs or other chemical substances;
- Note: The obligation to report does not apply where a Licensee is treating the other Licensee for the condition or learned of the condition as a result of having access to the other Licensee’s protected health information.
- Conduct indicating that a Licensee is imparied physically or mentally to such a degree as to render the Licensee unfit to carry out their professional duties;
- Note: A Licensee that seeks out care for a mental health condition is not required to self-report under the Board’s guidance.
- Any violation of, an attempt to violate, or aiding and abetting a violation of specific law or regulation, including, but not limited to: the Pharmacy Practice Act, the Ohio Controlled Substances Act, the Medical Marijuana Control Program, and the Pure Food and Drug Law; and
- Note: A Licensee is not required to report the occurrence of a dispensing error or medication error, unless such error is the result of reckless behavior or unprofessional conduct and the error may have contributed to or resulted in harm to the patient.
- Conduct by any Licensee that constitutes unprofessional conduct or dishonesty as such term is defined in applicable regulation.
B. Self-Reporting of Personal Conduct. Licensees must report the following personal conduct to the Board:
- Any criminal conviction, guilty plea, eligibility for intervention in lieu of conviction, enrollment in a diversion program, deferred prosecution program, or the equivalent thereof in any other jurisdiction, within 10 days of its occurrence.
- Note: This reporting obligation applies to all criminal conduct, including misdemeanor conduct, regardless of whether the case has been expunged or sealed. However, Licensees do not need to report minor traffic violations.
- Any arrest for a felony within 10 days of the arrest.
- Any disciplinary licensing or registration action taken against the Licensee by any other state or licensing agency (ex. DEA) within 10 days of the notice of such action.
- Note: This obligation requires a Licensee to report even where a disciplinary action has been stayed pending appeal.
While the Board’s guidance appears straightforward, it remains difficult to discern whether a Licensee must report conduct in certain circumstances. For example, if a Licensee seeks out mental health treatment and merely notifies another Licensee of such treatment (ex., a pharmacist-in-charge), the guidance is unclear as to whether or not the Licensee receiving the information must report this conduct. Similarly, if an out-of-state licensing board simply initiates disciplinary charges against a Licensee who is also licensed in Ohio, it is unclear whether the pending charges would qualify as a “disciplinary action” that the Licensee must report to the Ohio Board within the requisite 10 day time period.
In this regard, it is imperative that Licensees regulated by the Board understand their reporting duties because a failure to report, as well as the decision to self-report, could potentially result in the Board taking disciplinary action. You can access a copy of the Board’s updated reporting guidance here. Should you or your organization wish to learn more about Board Licensee reporting obligations in Ohio or have any questions concerning the practice of pharmacy in Ohio, please contact Daniel Zinsmaster and Bryan Murray.
The Board’s updated guidance applies to all individuals regulated by the Board, including pharmacists, pharmacy interns, certified pharmacy technicians, registered pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy technician trainees.