Hiring andWrongful Training to Conduct Prevent andRule Detect Diversion
n the previous two installments of this series on preventing and detecting the diversion of controlled drugs from your pharmacy, we focused on physical site security measures (Spring issue) and policies for ordering, receiving and tracking controlled drugs (Summer issue). Now we turn to tips on how to hire and train the people you must rely on to implement your security and policies—your employees. First, your hiring practices are crucial to the success of your anti-diversion efforts. Many pharmacists don’t realize that an applicant can have an unrestricted license or registration from the Board of Pharmacy but still have issues or problems in their past that you—the prospective employer—may want to know about before hiring them. Under Arkansas law, no type of criminal history totally disqualifies a person from licensure—even a convicted drug felon may hold a license under some circumstances.
Many pharmacists don’t realize that an applicant can have an unrestricted license or registration from the Board of Pharmacy but still have issues or problems in their past that you—the prospective employer—may want to know about before hiring them.
Prospective employees may also have a history of substance abuse that could impact their ability to perform their job duties. Many professionals in recovery are excellent employees but you should be aware of significant issues such as this before you bring them into your pharmacy. I also suggest that you require applicants to take a drug test before they can be offered a position.
Recommended Hiring Policies:
• Criminal background checks for every applicant before an interview. I recommend including a form giving you written consent with your application. • Pre-employment drug testing. Many locations across the state can conduct urine screening in less than 24 hours. Do not give the prospective employee more than a few hours notice of the testing. • License history check. A quick phone call to the Board of Pharmacy for a license or registration history on an applicant is time well spent.
Second, you must provide the appropriate training for the great employees you’ve hired. Although many pharmacists and other staff have learned through experience, you can’t depend on them coming to you with the right kind of knowledge to protect you from diversion. Providing— and documenting—training for your employees will also demonstrate to the Board and the DEA that you have taken all possible steps to prevent and detect diversion, whether through employee theft, robbery or fraud.
Recommended Training for All Employees:
• Training to recognize signs of impairment in customers and other employees • Training to recognize signs of diversion by employees • Training on how to recognize fraudulent prescriptions, including a fraud checklist at each register • Training on how to handle a robbery/burglary • Training on how to anonymously report suspected impairment, diversion or fraud to the permit holder/PIC • Training and clear policies on all controlled drug procedures • Clear training/policies on when to contact prescribers and who is authorized to do so • Clear training/policies on when to refuse to dispense a prescription and when to contact law enforcement • Policies requiring photo ID, verification of address or other methods to ensure identity of person picking up a controlled drug prescription
In the next installment of this series, we will examine case studies from real-life diversions to illustrate how putting these tips into practice would have prevented a lot of heartache for permit holders and PICs. § _____________________________________________________ About the author: Erika Gee represents clients in government relations, regulatory and compliance matters at Wright, Lindsey & Jennings LLP. She previously served as general counsel to the Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy for 6-1/2 years and as Chief of Staff and Chief Deputy Attorney General for Attorney General Dustin McDaniel. She uses her experience as general counsel for state agencies and licensing boards to assist clients to resolve regulatory and disciplinary disputes with state government.
THE ARKANSAS PHARMACIST
ARRX - The Arkansas Pharmacist Fall 2015