Pharmacist Lawyers: Lawyers for Pharmacists

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Experienced Pharmacist Lawyers

We are defence lawyers for pharmacists facing complaints and other regulatory challenges at the Ontario College of Pharmacists (“OCP”). Josh Koziebrocki’s articles discussing legal issues affecting Ontario pharmacists have been featured in The Ontario Pharmacist magazine.

OCP Complaints & Pharmacists

As regulatory lawyers, we help pharmacists respond to complaints at the OCP. The OCP may receive complaints made by pharmacy patients, staff, other pharmacists, or even members of the public who are not patients. These complaints should be approached with care and attention by pharmacies and their lawyers to ensure they are able to continue practicing and providing quality patient care.

A licensed pharmacy lawyer will work closely with their client to review the complaints against them and craft a strong response to submit to the OCP. Whether your pharmacy has been accused of negligence, a conflict of interest, or dispensing errors, Koziebrocki Law can assist you in protecting yourself and your practice from harm. Our experienced lawyers will provide a strong defence and a robust appeal if necessary.

How Our Pharmacist Lawyers Assist Pharmacists

Our team of defence pharmacist lawyers work with pharmacists on the following regulatory issues:

  • Responding to various inquiries at the Ontario College of Pharmacists, including assisting pharmacists draft responses to patient complaints at the OCP, which are reviewed by the Inquiries, Complaints, and Reports Committee (“ICRC”);
  • Advising pharmacists on compliance with relevant legislation, including the Regulated Health Professions Act, the Pharmacy Act, the Drug Interchangeability and Dispensing Fee Act, the Drug and Pharmacies Regulation Act, the Narcotics Safety and Awareness Act, and the Ontario Drug Benefit Act;
  • Navigating issues related to OCP registration and entry to practise, annual registration renewal with the OCP, and the OCP quality assurance program;
  • Advocating on behalf of pharmacists at OCP discipline hearings;
  • Assisting with Ontario Drug Benefit (“ODB”) investigations and audits;
  • Representing pharmacists in OCP appeals before the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board (“HPARB”) (e.g., where a decision of the ICRC has been made);
  • Working with pharmacists to respond to allegations of professional misconduct at the OCP;
  • Assisting with OCP fitness to practice matters;
  • Reporting past history, including criminal charges and findings of guilt, to the OCP; and
  • Advising pharmacists on other practice issues that may arise, such as employment contracts, loyalty points programs, and operating internet sites.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pharmacist Lawyers

What is a pharmacist lawyer?

A pharmacist lawyer is a licensed defence lawyer who represents pharmacists and pharmacies in proceedings. Pharmacist lawyers help pharmacists to build a strong defence and ensure municipal, provincial, and federal rules are followed throughout the process.

When may I need a pharmacist lawyer?

When a formal complaint is made against a pharmacist or pharmacist technician to the OCP, experienced lawyers for pharmacists are often brought on to represent the client against the complaint or an investigation. There are several cases when hiring a pharmacist lawyer in Toronto or Ontario, including:

Dispensing Errors: A pharmacist must ensure medication is dispensed correctly and matches the standards of practice set by the OCP. When dispensing errors occur, an experienced pharmacist lawyer will step in to protect their clients from any claim against them.

Conflict of Interest: If an OCP member’s personal or financial interest, or that of a close friend or family member, conflicts with their professional or ethical duty, there could be serious consequences involved. A conflict of interest can range from receiving referral fees to entering into any arrangement with a prescriber to promote a particular product.

Professional Negligence: Negligence refers to a standard of care not being met and the patient succumbing to physical or psychological harm as a result. When a duty of care is not met, pharmacist lawyers are brought in to represent defendants against a patient’s negligence claims.

What is the OCP?

The OCP is known in full as the Ontario College of Pharmacists. This regulatory body is designed to serve and protect the interest of the public and to hold registered pharmacists and pharmacy technicians accountable to the industry’s and government’s standards of patient care.

The OCP regulates local and hospital pharmacies, ensuring they’re operating with the proper accreditations, operating to the highest standards, and following current legislation.

How to respond to a complaint to the OCP

When a formal complaint is brought to the OCP, the first step is hiring an experienced lawyer for pharmacists to represent you against a patient’s claim. The OCP will provide a detailed letter of the allegations and include preliminary notes on the initial investigation.

A written response to your patient will be prepared through your licensed pharmacist law firm as an opportunity to address their concerns and provide any necessary commentary prior to the OCP’s Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee deposition. A written response should be submitted within 30 days of the complaint and should consider any unique considerations of the case, including the date and complexity of care.

The finalized response should include any additional pharmacy records requested by the OCP. The investigator will then pass the defendant’s response to the complainant for a rebuttal before evaluating the complete evidence.

What information is published on the OCP public register & how can you remove it?

The OCP is required to keep a public register of its members as set by the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA) and the Health Professions Procedural Code (HPPC).

In addition to preliminary information, such as name and practice location, the OCP’s public register must include:

● Cautions ordered by the College’s ICRC as a result of a complaint or investigation;
● Specified Continuing Education of Remediation Program (“SCERP”) ordered by the College’s ICRC as a result of a complaint or investigation;
● Results of any disciplinary or incapacity proceeding;
● Any undertakings or acknowledgements that the Member has entered into with the College;
● Revocations or suspensions;
● A resignation in the face of a complaint;
● The findings of any professional negligence or malpractice against the member;
● Any findings of guilt made against the member under the Criminal Code or the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

To remove details from the public register, it must be approved by the RHPA or the HPPC through one of two avenues. The first route falls under section 23(7) of the Code, which states that the Registrar may remove information from the OCP public register if that information “is obsolete and no longer relevant to the member’s suitability to practise.” The second route is under section 23(11) of the Code, which applies to a member who has been found guilty of professional misconduct or found to be incapacitated by the Fitness to Practice Committee.

Articles

Responding to Complaints at the Ontario College of Pharmacists: What Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians Need to Know

When a formal complaint is made to the Ontario College of Pharmacists (OCP) against one of its members, the pharmacist or pharmacy technician in question should respond. Dealing with allegations of improper practices or professional misconduct can be a highly stressful experience. Based on our experience representing pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, here is an introductory guide to responding to complaints at the OCP. 

Responding to Section 75 Investigations at the OCP

We often assist pharmacists and pharmacy technicians with a variety of matters at the Ontario College of Pharmacists (“OCP”). This includes responding to formal investigations under subsections 75(1)(a), (b), and (c) of the Health Professions Procedural Code (“HPPC”).

What is Published on the Ontario College of Pharmacist’s Public Register?

We often assist pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who have questions regarding the Ontario College of Pharmacist’s (“OCP”) public register. Upon receiving a complaint to the OCP, pharmacists should be aware that the process has the potential to result in the publication of a notation that is critical of their professional care. In this article, we will summarize some of the most relevant information regarding the public register. 

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