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Professional liability insurance (PLI) is a must

January 12, 2022
Lessons learned: Practising without PLI can lead to serious consequences for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

A Hearing Tribunal issued their written decision on the merit and orders regarding the conduct of a pharmacy technician who failed to fulfill her professional responsibilities and failed to meet her regulatory requirement to carry professional liability insurance (PLI) while on the pharmacy technician register.

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

Individuals, otherwise qualifying as a pharmacy technician cannot be registered as a pharmacy technician unless they hold the type and amount of professional liability insurance prescribed by the college and must not hold themselves out to be or practise as a pharmacy technician.

In this matter, the Tribunal imposed costly penalties, even though the pharmacy technician’s actions were unintentional, she showed genuine remorse, there had been no previous history of unprofessional conduct on the part of the pharmacy technician, and there was no demonstrated patient harm. The Tribunal ordered

  • a reprimand,
  • a fine of $500, and
  • a payment of $6,500 towards the costs of the investigation and hearing.

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

Professional liability insurance is an important part of the protection of the public because it means that the public is ensured that the actions of a pharmacy technician are covered. It is also not practical for members of the public to verify that individuals with whom they interact in a pharmacy have liability insurance.

… … …

Pharmacy technicians are part of a self-regulated profession. One of the foundations of a self-regulating profession is that their members are diligent and trustworthy in their practice to ensure public safety. Breaches of these requirements, even if unintentional, have the potential to harm the public, as well as the reputation of pharmacy both within the profession as well as within society as a whole.

Pharmacy technicians and pharmacists – incorporate these lessons into your approach to professional declarations and maintaining PLI:

  1. Review your professional obligations described in any declarations related to your registration and in maintaining proper PLI. Excellent information about the declarations and PLI requirements can be found in ACP’s The Link, ACP News, and on the guidelines for audits of professional declarations section of the ACP website, and are customarily sent to registrants during the renewal period.
  2. 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.
  3. If you think you need help understanding or fulfilling a declaration, ask for and accept assistance BEFORE making your declaration.
  4. Do not allow your personal circumstances to negatively affect your professional obligations.
  5. 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.