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Failing to fulfill professional declarations and not carrying current liability insurance can be a costly mistake

October 17, 2018
Lessons Learned: A recent hearing tribunal issued its written decision on the merit and orders regarding the conduct of a pharmacist.

A recent hearing tribunal issued its written decision on the merit and orders regarding the conduct of a pharmacist who failed to fulfill his professional declaration and failed to meet his regulatory requirement to carry professional liability insurance (“PLI”) while on the clinical register.

The pharmacist’s failures were determined by a hearing tribunal to be acts of unprofessional conduct. In their decision the hearing tribunal affirmed the necessity for registrants to fully comply with the declarations they provide to the ACP and the requirement to maintain PLI while on the clinical register (or on the pharmacy technician register for pharmacy technicians). The hearing tribunal went on to outline that the autonomy our registrants enjoy as members of a self-regulating profession must be supported by our registrants’ steadfast fulfillment of their declarations.

As a pharmacist, or a pharmacy technician, if you do not have proper PLI, you must NOT be on the clinical or pharmacy technician register, regardless if you are in active practice or not.

In this matter, the tribunal imposed costly penalties, even though the pharmacist was a new registrant, this was his first renewal of his practice permit, his actions were unintentional, he showed genuine remorse, there had been no previous history of unprofessional conduct on the part of the pharmacist, and there was no demonstrated patient harm. The tribunal ordered the following:

  • a reprimand;
  • a payment of $10,000 towards the costs of the investigation and hearing; and
  • a fine of $1,000.

Rationale for the tribunal’s decision, is reflected in its following statements:

Despite the intentions and remorse, this is a serious matter and all registrants sign a professional declaration upon renewal of their practice permit that they will maintain this insurance to protect the safety of public and in the event that there is a mistake or accident that requires appropriate compensation.

As a self-regulated profession, pharmacists conduct themselves with autonomy. However, there is a corresponding obligation to be responsible, accurate, and trustworthy. Self-regulation depends upon the accountability of regulated professionals to their regulators as regulators rely on the statements and declarations made by their members to be true. [The pharmacist’s] conduct disregarded his obligation to the College and called into question the trust placed in him as a member of a self-regulated profession.

Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians – Incorporate these Lessons into Your Approach to Professional Declarations and Maintaining PLI

  1. Review your professional obligations when completing your declarations and in maintaining proper PLI. Excellent information about the declarations and PLI requirements can be found in ACP’s The Link, ACP News (Spring 2016 edition), on the ACP website, and are customarily sent to registrants during the renewal period.
  2. Keep your licensee, pharmacy employer, and the college informed about your annual permit status.
  3. Review and understand all aspects of all declarations you provide the ACP. If you are not certain about what you are declaring, DON’T guess or assume. Clarify any uncertainty you might have BEFORE you provide a declaration.
  4. If you think you need help understanding or fulfilling a declaration, ask for and accept assistance.
  5. Do not allow your personal circumstances to negatively affect your professional obligations.
  6. Discuss these matters with your peers.