How to file a complaint and the complaint process
You may have a complaint regarding a pharmacy or pharmacist licensed by the Texas State Board of Pharmacy. The following questions should help you decide if and how you should file a complaint.
- How do I file a complaint against a pharmacy or pharmacist?
Anyone may file a complaint against a pharmacy or pharmacist, but complaints must be received in writing.You may fill out our on-line complaint form here or call 800-821-3205 (option 5) or in Austin 512-305-8080 (option 5) (recorded information only) to have one mailed to you. Please describe your complaint in detail; include facts, dates, and names of persons involved. If your complaint involves a prescription, please provide information from the prescription label.
- How are complaints resolved?
Each complaint is thoroughly reviewed and evaluated, first to determine if the complaint (allegations) involves a person or a pharmacy licensed by this Board, and secondly, whether the allegations, if true, would be a violation of the Texas Pharmacy Act or Texas Drug Laws. If the complaint is not under our jurisdiction, we may close the complaint with no action or refer the complaint to another agency or entity. The Board of Pharmacy does not have jurisdiction over complaints involving rudeness, customer service, and/or pricing/billing disputes.
If the complaint is within the jurisdiction of this agency, the complaint may be referred to an investigator. An investigator may contact you for additional information about your complaint; so, you will be asked to provide your telephone number. If you do not have a telephone or do not want us to call, we will write to the address that you have provided if we need more information. Please keep all evidence in your possession (such as bottles and receipts) until you are contacted by a TSBP investigator.
Many complaints are closed with a verbal or written warning. If a complaint results in disciplinary action being taken against the licensee or applicant, the action may range from reprimand (public censure) to revocation (license is taken away from the pharmacist or pharmacy). The Board does not represent the complainant (person making the complaint) individually and does not seek restitution or money damages on behalf of any individual.
- How does the Agency discipline a pharmacist or pharmacy?
The Board of Pharmacy may reprimand, suspend, revoke, retire, or fine the license of a pharmacist or pharmacy that is found to have violated pharmacy or drug laws. In taking action against a licensee, the agency must comply with the provisions of the Texas Administrative Procedures Act. During disciplinary proceedings, licensees may be represented by an attorney, and they have an opportunity to show their compliance with the law. Once action has been taken against the licensee by the Agency, the licensee has the right to appeal the action to state courts.
- What happens if disciplinary action is initiated?
The licensee is given the opportunity to attend an informal settlement conference. The licensee will be told of the date, time, and place of the conference. The licensee will be informed of the issues to be discussed.
The complainant may attend the conference at their own expense if permitted by the Texas Pharmacy Act and Board Rules. Certain informal settlement conferences may be confidential by law. If applicable and permitted by law, the complainant will be notified of the date, time, and place of the conference.
At the informal settlement conference, the licensee is given an opportunity to show compliance with the law. A panel (composed of Board staff and generally one Board Member) proposes a recommendation for settlement of the case, which may include dismissal, a formal warning, or a disciplinary sanction. If the panel recommends the imposition of a sanction, and the licensee agrees with the recommendation, a proposed Agreed Board Order (ABO) is presented to the Board Members at their next regularly scheduled meeting. If the Board Members accept the proposed ABO, the order is entered. The complainant may obtain a copy of the order if the order is a public order.
If the licensee does not accept the proposed ABO, or if the Board Members reject the proposed ABO, the case will proceed to a public hearing conducted by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) employed by the State Office of Administrative Hearings. After the hearing is conducted, the ALJ will prepare a Proposal for Decision (PFD) which contains findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommended disciplinary action. The PFD will be presented to the Board Members who then make a decision in the case. The Board's decision may be appealed in accordance with Texas law.
- Will I be told of the status and resolution of my complaint?
We will notify you in writing when the complaint is closed unless you inform us that you would prefer not to receive written notification.
It is difficult to predict, in advance, the amount of time necessary to handle a specific complaint. If your complaint requires a more lengthy investigation, you will be notified in writing of the status of the complaint approximately every 120 days until final action is taken, unless the notification would jeopardize an undercover investigation.