Florida Pharmacy Tech’s License Suspended After Stealing Pills
Pharmacists have a huge responsibility. They must ensure that prescriptions are filled properly. They must also be honest with the medications they have in their inventory. Pharmacists have access to a wide variety of drugs, including opioids and other addictive pills. If they take these drugs for their own use, they can face serious penalties, including license loss.
A pharmacy technician who worked at a Publix in West Palm Beach recently got his license suspended after stealing more than 1,000 controlled substance pills. The 24-year-old man was faced with an emergency suspension order (ESO) on his license. He will likely have his license revoked.
The man admitted to stealing a total of 1,015 pills, including the following:
- 250 tablets of Soma muscle relaxer
- 250 tablets of seizure medication gabapentin
- 200 tablets of pain medication tramadol
- 200 tablets of Tylenol with codeine
- 100 tablets of zolpidem
- 15 tablets of Xanax
The investigation began in July when the Publix’s pharmacy inventory turned up 1,170 missing pills. This prompted the pharmacy supervisor to count the controlled substance pills on a daily basis. Four zolpidem tablets went missing on August 5. That was when Publix went to the surveillance camera and watched the video.
The pharmacy technician was seen on camera removing zolpidem tablets and placing them into an empty bottle. He then walked to the back of the pharmacy until he was no longer visible on camera. At the time of the video, there was no reason for the man to be handling the zolpidem, as there were no active prescriptions at the time. Suspicious of the video footage, staff showed the video to the pharmacy tech in question. He admitted to stealing the tablets. Publix fired him but didn’t file criminal charges.
The man has a history of theft. When he worked for his previous employer, Winn-Dixie, he stole 300 Krave 300 electronic cigarettes on three separate occasions. He was arrested in October 2014. He completed a pre-trial diversion program the following year. The man obtained his registered pharmacy technician license in December 2015.
Healthcare and pharmacy workers steal millions of pills every year through tampering, theft and diversion. In 2017, 18.7 million pills were lost. Most diversion incidents involved doctors and nurses, with pharmacy technicians accounting for less than 3% of incidents.
There are several reasons why healthcare workers are likely to divert medications. Not only do they have easy access to these substances, but their job leads to high levels of stress, fatigue, and pain. Using medications can help them feel better and get through long shifts with ease.
Keep Your License With Help From a Tampa Pharmacist License & Pharmacy Permit Lawyer
Dispensing medication is a job that requires trust. If a pharmacist or technician cannot be trusted to dispense pills properly or not steal medications, then actions will be taken to suspend or revoke their license.
If you are facing administrative issues, seek help from Tampa pharmacist license & pharmacy permit lawyer David P. Rankin. He has helped pharmacists and other licensed professionals keep their licenses. Fill out the online form or call (813) 968-6633 and schedule a consultation today.