Alberta pharmacist suspended and facing $40,000 fines for ‘unprofessional’ record keeping practices

An Alberta College of Pharmacy (ACP) Hearing Tribunal found Irricana pharmacist Anamaria Muresan guilty of unprofessional conduct related to unethical record keeping.

IRRICANA – Pharmacist Anamaria Muresan has been suspended for four months and forced to pay more than $40,000 in fines, after an Alberta College of Pharmacy (ACP) court hearing found her guilty of driving unprofessional related to its record keeping practices.

According to a January 13 CPA press release, Muresan was accused of record-keeping deficiencies, after complaints were issued by a third-party insurer about missing supplier bills from her business, Remedy’s RX Pharmacy. in Irricana.

A quasi-judicial hearing tribunal found in October 2021 that Muresan “failed to ensure that its pharmacy had an effective record-keeping system” and also failed to maintain required pharmacy records and exact. The Hearing Tribunal’s verdict – delivered November 30, 2021 – and an Agreed Statement of Facts are described in a 20-page report published on the ACP website.

“The regulatory framework that governs pharmacists makes it clear that record keeping is central to the role of pharmacists and licensees,” reads the rationale for the CPA’s decision.

“Pharmacists are responsible for informing themselves of regulatory requirements. Failure to comply with record-keeping requirements is of serious concern, as it can negatively impact public confidence in pharmacists’ ability to provide services in a professional manner.

Following the verdict of the court hearing, the CPA ordered a series of sanctions against Muresan, including a four-month suspension, with one month to be served in April and the remaining three suspended for three years.

She also faces fines of $40,000 and must provide a copy of the written decision to the employer or licensee of any company where she works as a pharmacist for three years.

The pharmacist will also have to pay 80% of the total costs of the investigation against her, according to the CPA press release, which amounts to approximately $22,000.

As for what led to the penalties, the 20-page report says Muresan submitted nearly $34,000 for the protein drinks Ensure, Ensure Plus, Glucerna and Ensure High Protein to Alberta Blue Cross, but did not was able to provide the supporting vendor invoices required for the claims.

She would also have submitted claims for more than one pharmacy service per patient per day, absent the exclusion – a violation of her agreement with Alberta Blue Cross and Alberta Health Minister’s Order. , according to the CPA.

The CPA report also says Muresan failed to take appropriate steps to provide required records to Alberta Blue Cross when the pharmacy underwent a compliance audit review in 2019.

CPA Registrar Greg Eberhart said the level of allegations against Muresan was serious enough to warrant an investigation by the regulator’s complaints director, leading to the need for a court hearing in the fall. last.

“It is certainly part of our role as regulators to respond to complaints that may come from the public or from organisations,” he said. “We take responsibility very seriously. In this case, due to its importance, it resulted in a suspension as well as fines, so we have shared this with the public so that they are aware of our commitment to the public and working in their best interest.

Reached for comment on Jan. 14, Muresan said the sanctions provided a learning opportunity. She added that the lesson will adjust the way she does her job, but stressed that her focus has always been and will continue to be her customers.

“It’s really hard for me to say, because I’m not a lawyer, and obviously it was the first time it had happened,” she said.

Despite the negative outcome of her court hearing, Muresan said she was touched by the uplifting messages she received from some of her clients since the news of her punishment broke.

“It was amazing to see the support from all of my clients,” she said. “I have been overwhelmed with the care, love and prayers of clients that I may have done a thing for over the past five years.”

Eberhart noted that Muresan cooperated with the investigation throughout the investigation and expressed remorse about his alleged misconduct.

“To be fair to the registrant, prior to appearing in court, she was very cooperative and worked with college legal counsel and her own legal counsel to agree to an agreed statement of facts,” said he declared. “I would say that she observed and admitted that the allegations were considered unethical, unprofessional and therefore inappropriate.”

That being said, Eberhart added that negligence or ignorance does not excuse misconduct.

“There were certain issues in the allegations of which she indicated she was unaware, although she had a professional responsibility in her role as owner, proprietor, licensee and pharmacist of this pharmacy to be aware of its responsibilities, with regard to the contracts it enters into,” he said.

“She recognized them, and they were certainly discussed contextually on the panel, and taken as serious.”

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