What is an immediate and clear danger to public safety?

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2021 | Blog, Professional License Issues |

Like with other states, you need a license to practice pharmacy in Pennsylvania. While you may not think much about your license, losing it may make it virtually impossible to support yourself and your family members. You may also struggle to obtain a pharmacy license in another jurisdiction.

If the Pennsylvania State Board of Pharmacy receives information you may present an immediate and clear danger to public health and safety, you are likely to face at least a temporary suspension of your pharmacy license.

No formal definition

While Pennsylvania law allows for the suspension of a pharmacy license for a pharmacist who is clearly and immediately dangerous to public health and safety, it does not contain a precise definition for the term. The lack of formal definition means many types of potential misconduct may fit into the category.

These may include any of the following:

  • Failing to fill prescriptions correction
  • Neglecting to manage employees
  • Reaching an advanced age
  • Losing cognitive abilities
  • Developing certain medical conditions

This list is far from exhaustive, unfortunately. In fact, according to reporting from NBC News, even something as simple as working too many hours may put the welfare of the public in danger.

Broad discretion

The Pennsylvania State Board of Pharmacy has broad discretion to determine whether a pharmacist presents an immediate and clear danger to public health and safety. In fact, if it has sufficient evidence, the board may prohibit you from working as a pharmacist until it can take further action.

Your rights

You do not have to accept the State Board of Pharmacy’s opinion or suspension, as you have the right to have a hearing. Still, until there is a resolution of the matter, continuing to work as a pharmacist may cause you to face additional consequences.

It is normal to feel some trepidation about avoiding an issue that lacks a clear definition. Ultimately, though, if you comply with the legal and ethical obligations of your profession, you are unlikely to put the public in clear and immediate danger.