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Pharmacy professionals are always pharmacy professionals

May 28, 2024
Boardroom meeting closeup with
Lessons learned: improper conduct outside of the pharmacy could still be unprofessional conduct.

A Hearing Tribunal issued their written decision on the merit and orders regarding the conduct of a pharmacy technician who copied the employer ID cards of three co-workers without their knowledge to improperly access parking privileges over an approximate seven-year period. His use of improper parking privileges was equivalent to the theft of approximately $11,200 worth of parking. Also, the pharmacy technician initially breached the confidentiality of his employer’s initial internal investigation into the ID cards and parking matters.   

The pharmacy technician’s actions were determined by the Tribunal to be acts of unprofessional conduct. In its decision, the Tribunal determined that even though pharmacy patients were not involved and public safety was not directly at issue, the pharmacy technician’s conduct undermined the integrity of the profession, decreased the public’s trust in the profession, and failed to fulfill the ethical judgment expected and required of a pharmacy technician.

As a pharmacy technician or pharmacist, you must take personal responsibility for your actions, inside and outside of the pharmacy. Understand that sometimes “off-duty” conduct may be reviewed under the lens of professional conduct.

In these matters, the Tribunal imposed significant penalties, even though the pharmacy technician did not have a previous history of professional misconduct, demonstrated genuine remorse, and fully cooperated with ACP’s investigation and hearing. The Tribunal ordered the following:

  • a reprimand,
  • the pharmacy technician to provide a copy of the Tribunal’s decision to any pharmacy employer or licensee of a pharmacy in which he is employed for a period of one year,
  • the pharmacy technician successfully complete the Centre for Personalized Education for Professionals (CPEP) PROBE Course at his own cost within 12 months, and
  • a payment of $2,000 towards the costs of the investigation and hearing.

Rationale for the Tribunal’s decision is reflected in their following statements:

[The pharmacy technician’s] conduct demonstrated a disregard in his dealings toward his fellow healthcare professionals and his employer. The improper copying of ID cards and theft from an employer is serious conduct that violates the inherent trust required of an employee and that undermines the integrity of the profession. Regulated members of the College are expected to maintain a high level of trust and are required to conduct themselves appropriately in all aspects of their professional life. [The pharmacy technician] used his employment and position as a pharmacy technician to engage in the theft and improper use of the ID cards, all of which cost his employer a significant amount of money. He also breached confidentiality obligations in an investigation. All of this decreases the public’s trust in the profession.

Pharmacy technicians and pharmacists – incorporate these lessons into your workplace dealings:

  1. Understand that conduct “outside of the pharmacy” or “off-duty” conduct may still be regulated by ACP and could be found as unprofessional conduct if there is a clear connection between the conduct and the profession of pharmacy.
  2. Review the ethical requirements all pharmacy technicians and pharmacists must comply with in ACP’s Code of Ethics. These ethical requirements extend beyond patient relationships and encompass societal and professional obligations.
  3. Review, understand, and apply ACP’s professionalism resources.
  4. Do not allow your personal circumstances to negatively affect your professional obligations.