Virginia's pharmacy board adopts new CE compliance process

August 28, 2009

In what it describes as an effort to stabilize and possibly decrease costs, a significant portion of which are associated with enforcement of laws and regulations, the Virginia Board of Pharmacy is testing new processes to help increase the efficiency of certain noncompliance issues.

In what it describes as an effort to stabilize and possibly decrease costs, a significant portion of which are associated with enforcement of laws and regulations, the Virginia Board of Pharmacy is testing new processes to help increase the efficiency of certain noncompliance issues.

In regard to compliance with continuing education (CE) requirements, the Board approved a new process for enforcing CE requirements. With CE, there is little room for interpretation as to whether the licensee complied, according to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. In addition, there are very few circumstances that should affect a decision about noncompliance, because the licensee may request an extension or exemption for CE requirements prior to renewal.

The new guidance document says the board may audit for CE compliance anyone checking “no” to the CE attestation on the annual license renewal form, anyone requested a continuance for obtaining CE on the previous year’s renewal, and anyone selected for random audit. When audited, licensees will receive a letter stating that they must submit to the Board office the original certificates for the required CE during the previous two years.

If a licensee’s response to the audit does not show compliance with CE requirements, board staff will send a letter to the licensee offering resolution of the matter by consent, payment of an established monetary penalty, and proof of late compliance with CE requirements, along with an additional opportunity for the licensee to furnish proof that CE requirements were actually met during the specified time period.

If the letter is signed and returned to the board by the licensee, the letter will constitute an order of the Board and the licensee’s consent to the imposition of a monetary penalty and an agreement to the submission of documentation of late CE compliance. The monetary penalty is $250 for each year a pharmacist does not meet CE requirements. Because the maximum audit period is two years, the maximum penalty would be $500.

The monetary penalty offered for each year that a pharmacy technician does not meet CE requirements will be $50, for a maximum penalty of $100. Pharmacists or pharmacy technicians who do not want to use this new consent process may request an informal conference before a committee of the Board. Persons who fail to respond to the consent letter will automatically be scheduled for an informal conference.