Inspectors/investigators are the eyes and ears for boards of pharmacy, ensuring compliance with pharmacy law and practice standards. In this feature, inspectors reveal what they’ve learned in the field.
Kevin Robertson, PharmD, PD, BCPS
Inspector/Investigator, Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy
How long have you been serving as an inspector for the Board? What was your role prior to working for the Board?
I have been serving as an inspector for the Board for two years. Some of my prior positions were hospital clinical pharmacist, informatics pharmacist, clinical coordinator, director of pharmacy, and pharmacy residency program director. I am also a former member of the Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy, where I represented hospital practice.
In your opinion, what tools or skills are a must-have in a pharmacy inspector’s toolkit?
A broad experience base of the practices you are inspecting is a must. Also, I believe the desire to stay connected to associated professional organizations (locally, regionally, and nationally) and to continue to seek out professional learning opportunities that apply to practices and facilities for which you inspect are necessary.
What are some common issues that you have witnessed and addressed as an inspector with the Board?
Some of the issues that I have witnessed as a board inspector include inadequate storage, accountability, and destruction processes for patient-controlled medications left in the possession of a patient’s admitting inpatient facility. Inadequate sterile compounding production areas and practices were initially very concerning issues. However, this has improved significantly over the past two years. I believe these inadequacies were largely related to a lack of understanding from pharmacies on how to best apply standards in each unique patient care environment.
In Arkansas, do inspectors also conduct investigations for the Board of Pharmacy or other health regulatory boards? If yes, what is one of the most challenging or surprising cases you have investigated? What steps or approaches did you take in the investigation? What was the outcome of the case?
Yes, our inspectors act as the investigators for the Board of Pharmacy cases. The most surprising thing to me as an inspector is that we have seen a few pharmacists and pharmacies that have not kept up with updates to current standards of practice related to sterile compounding. With such cases, I focused on the facts with the attention to details required to ensure a solid case that would be self-explanatory. The outcome of one case was that the facility is no longer in operation and the primary practitioner is no longer practicing sterile compounding-related duties.
What advice would you give to a new board inspector?
Your role is to ensure public safety through pharmacy practices. Remember to stay professional and focused on findings that truly enhance public safety.
This interview is featured in the August issue of Innovations.