(for a printed version of this information, click HERE)
The mission of the Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmacy Board is to set, govern and advance the standards and scope of pharmacy practice and service for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.
This means the primary purpose of the Board is to serve and protect the public interest in all matters relating to the sale of drugs and the practice of pharmacy. Pharmacists practicing in Newfoundland and Labrador are required to be registered by the Board.
Patients usually receive high quality care and service; however, sometimes problems occur. Many issues arise because of misunderstandings. Others may arise from genuine errors. Simple misunderstandings can often be resolved informally. However, some issues require investigation and follow-up by the Board.
If you have concerns:
What we cannot do:
The Board can only take action against pharmacists with regard to professional matters. The Board cannot help you with problems related to other health care professionals such as physicians or nurses. The Board also cannot resolve monetary or business-related issues such as:
The Complaint Process
When the Board receives a formal allegation, several things will happen. The Board staff will review all documentation and determine what additional information, if any, may be required. This additional information may include prescription records, medication profiles, or interviews with those involved. If you have not already discussed your concern with Board staff, you will be contacted to provide additional information and clarification of your allegation. Finally, a copy of your allegation and supporting documentation is sent to the identified pharmacist for response and explanation.
If the allegation cannot be satisfactorily resolved by the Board staff, it is then referred to the Complaints Authorization Committee. The Committee may then refer the allegation back to the Secretary-Registrar for investigation or resolution, conduct an investigation itself or require the pharmacist to appear before it.
Where the Committee decides there are no reasonable grounds for the allegation, they may dismiss the allegation and will notify you of this in writing.
If the Committee decides there are reasonable grounds for the allegation, it then constitutes a complaint, and the committee may counsel or caution the pharmacist, refer the matter to the disciplinary panel or recommend to the Board that the pharmacist’s practice be suspended or restricted.
Once the disciplinary panel receives a complaint, it will appoint an adjudication tribunal to conduct a hearing into the matter.
What does it mean to close a hearing?
If the hearing is entirely closed, no members of the public or media will be permitted access to the hearing room while testimony is given or counsel submissions on the complaint are made.
The adjudication tribunal may be asked, as a preliminary matter, to decide whether even the motion to close the hearing should be closed to the public, because the motion itself may disclose sensitive personal information.
Public notice will be given of an adjudication tribunal’s decision to close a hearing.
In some circumstances, it may be appropriate to close only a portion of a hearing, if the adjudication tribunal is only satisfied that some of the evidence to be heard is of a sensitive personal nature and if it is satisfied that it will be reasonably possible to predict in advance when sensitive evidence is likely to be heard or referred to in the course of the hearing.
Who decides whether a hearing should be closed?
The adjudication tribunal decides whether a hearing, or part thereof, should be closed to the public, applying the statutory test set out in section 41(4) of the Pharmacy Act, which states:
"A hearing shall be conducted in public but an adjudication tribunal may exclude the public from a hearing, or from part of it, where it considers the desirability of protecting a party to the complaint or another person against the consequences of possible disclosure of personal matters outweighs the desirability of holding the hearing in public."
How does one go about requesting that a hearing be closed?
The Board, or the respondent pharmacist, as parties to the hearing, have standing to bring a motion, to be decided by the adjudication tribunal, to close a hearing . Such a motion may be brought prior to, or after, the commencement of the hearing.
Under what circumstances would such a request usually be made?
In some cases, it may be anticipated that the hearing may involve disclosure of personal matters of a complainant or other person. The Board or respondent pharmacist may then consider whether to bring a motion to close the hearing, bearing in mind that the desirability of protecting a party to the complaint or another person against the consequences of possible disclosure of personal matters by closing the hearing must outweigh the desirability of holding the hearing in public.
What kinds of action can the Board take?
The Board can:
How long does the complaint review process take?
There is no set time limit. The length of the review process varies with the complexity of the allegation. Some reviews move very quickly, others take months or a year or longer.
How can I find out about the status of my allegation?
You can contact the Board staff at any time. In addition, the Board staff will contact you when the review process is complete and the Board has made a decision about your allegation.
Do all allegations lead to action against pharmacists or pharmacies?
The Board receives some allegations that do not lead to action against a pharmacist or pharmacy. The Board cannot take action against a pharmacist or pharmacy unless there is sufficient evidence to show that the pharmacist violated the NL Pharmacy Act and its Regulations or the Board’s Standards of Pharmacy Practice. The Board must thoroughly review each allegation before it takes any action.
If the Board cannot act, is there anything I can do?
The Board's staff may advise you on the services of other governmental agencies or professional associations if the Board is not the appropriate agency to deal with your concerns.
Are there any costs associated with filing an allegation?
There are no costs for filing an allegation.
If I file an allegation, can I also take legal action?
Filing an allegation would have no effect on any other legal action you choose to consider.
Can I be sued for making an allegation?
No, you cannot be sued for making an allegation. However, divulging details of your issue to others in writing or verbally may constitute libel or slander, placing you at risk for legal action.
|Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmacy Board | Apothecary Hall | 488 Water Street, St. John's, NL A1E 1B3 | Tel: 709-753-5877 Toll-Free: 1-877-453-5877 Fax: 709-753-8615|
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