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Professional declarations: you’re responsible

January 24, 2024
Hearing tribunal text, conference room meeting
Lessons Learned: regulated members must carry professional liability insurance and meet all requirements for authorizations.

A Hearing Tribunal issued its written decision on the merit and orders regarding the conduct of a pharmacist who failed to fulfill his professional responsibilities and failed to meet his regulatory requirement to carry professional liability insurance (PLI) while on the clinical pharmacist register. The pharmacist also failed to maintain current CPR/first-aid certification while having the authorization to administer drugs by injection (DBI).

The pharmacist’s failures were determined by the Tribunal to be acts of unprofessional conduct. In its decision, the Tribunal affirmed the necessity for regulated members to fully comply with the declarations they provide to ACP, for pharmacists to maintain PLI while on the clinical pharmacist register, and for pharmacists to maintain current CPR/first aid while having DBI authorization. The Tribunal outlined that the autonomy ACP regulated members enjoy within self-regulating professions must be supported by regulated members’ steadfast fulfillment of their declarations.

As a pharmacist or a pharmacy technician, you must take personal responsibility to ensure your declarations are accurate and will be maintained. You must maintain the required amount and type of PLI while on the register. For pharmacists with DBI authorization, you must ensure you keep your CPR/first-aid certification current.

In this matter, the Tribunal imposed costly penalties, even though the pharmacist’s 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 fine of $2,000, and
  • a payment of $2,000 towards the costs of the investigation and hearing.

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

Pharmacists are required by law to maintain PLI and are required to provide proof (typically in the form of a self-declaration provided to the College) that they have valid PLI in place when they apply to renew their practice permit each year. It is an expectation that when a pharmacist tells the College they are in possession of PLI, they are. Inaccurate declarations, regardless of whether they are deliberate, have the potential to harm the public and are taken very seriously.

… … …

While the College takes steps to remind its members of their obligations, it is ultimately the responsibility of individual pharmacists to ensure they have valid PLI and certifications at all times. Patients are protected when pharmacists fulfill this obligation.

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It is a fundamental expectation, when a pharmacist completes their professional declarations, that the statements declared can be counted on to be true. False declarations, due to errors in judgement, lack of attention, or any other reason – deliberate or not, have the capacity to harm the public and are therefore taken very seriously.

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians – incorporate these lessons into your approach to professional declarations and maintaining PLI and, as needed, CPR/first aid:

  1. Review your professional obligations described in any declarations related to your registration and in maintaining proper PLI & CPR/first aid. Excellent information about the declarations and requirements can be found in ACP’s The Link and the Professional declarations audit section of the ACP website, and is customarily sent to regulated members via email during the annual practice permit renewal period.
  2. Maintain both an electronic and paper copy of your PLI and CPR/first aid.
  3. During the completion of your practice permit renewal application, review your PLI and CPR/first-aid document and ensure it is valid for the upcoming permit year.
  4. Review and understand all aspects of all declarations you provide to ACP. If you are not certain about what you are declaring, DON’T guess or assume. Clarify any uncertainty you might have BEFORE making your declaration.
  5. If you think you need help understanding or fulfilling a declaration, ask for and accept assistance BEFORE making your declaration.
  6. Do not allow your personal circumstances to negatively affect your professional obligations.
  7. Don’t assume others, including your PLI provider or employer, will renew your PLI for you. Take personal responsibility to implement and maintain a system to ensure your PLI is always in place and active.