The Iowa Board of Pharmacy is the state agency responsible for licensing, regulating, and disciplining pharmacists, pharmacies, drug wholesalers, pharmacist-interns, pharmacy technicians, pharmacy support persons, and other businesses involved in the distribution of drugs in Iowa.
What type of complaints are investigated by the Board?
The Board is authorized to investigate complaints about licensees and registrants and to take disciplinary action against any licensee or registrant alleged to have violated the Board’s administrative rules governing the practice of pharmacy or the distribution of drugs in Iowa.
Violations may include:
- Unethical Practice
- Dispensing Errors
- Improper Prescription Handling
- Illegal Dispensing
- Impairment or Diversion
Complaints outside of the Board’s jurisdiction may include:
- Insurance company or pharmacy benefit manager complaints
- Billing/insurance issues
- Medicare/Medicaid complaints
- Prescription drug prices
- Over-the-counter medication issues
- Customer service / Human Resources disputes
If the allegations are not a violation of Board rules, the Board cannot act. The Board will contact you if it determines that your complaint does not fall under the Board’s jurisdiction and may refer your complaint to the appropriate agency. Please note that the Board may not investigate billing/insurance complaints that do not allege a violation of the Board’s rules.
The Board will investigate or review alleged acts or omissions which the Board reasonably believes constitute cause for licensee discipline.
The Board cannot pursue monetary compensation, require a refund, or help you resolve a billing dispute.
The Board does not act as a customer service agent for the public to resolve a specific issue.
The Board also cannot provide legal advice.
It is important that you understand this administrative process is not the same as a lawsuit by you against the licensee. The Board does not represent the complainant and does not have authority to seek monetary damages on your behalf, nor retrieve records for you. You should consult with your own legal counsel if you believe you have a cause of action against the licensee or registrant.
Examples of Possible Violations
- The pharmacist fails to counsel you about how to take a new prescription (or a prescription with change to instructions) and possible side effects
- A non-pharmacist employee is allowed to counsel you regarding your prescriptions
- A pharmacy employee fails to maintain the confidentiality of your health information
- A pharmacy employee appears unable to function safely due to alcohol or drug abuse
- The pharmacy appears dirty, cluttered, or unsanitary
- Incorrect information is entered on the label of the prescription container
- A prescription is dispensed with the wrong drug or wrong dosage
- A prescription is refilled without proper authorization from the prescribing physician
- A prescription is filled with expired drug
- A prescription is dispensed to the incorrect patient
Who can file a complaint?
Anyone who believes they have witnessed or experienced any problem, error, illegal practice, or instance of unprofessional conduct on the part of a pharmacy, pharmacist, pharmacist-intern, pharmacy technician, or other person or entity regulated by the Iowa Board of Pharmacy may file a complaint with the Board. Board Compliance Officers respond to and investigate all complaints involving acts or omissions within the Board’s jurisdiction.
The Board strongly discourages the submission of anonymous complaints. To properly investigate a complaint, the Board may need to contact you for additional information. If we are unable to contact you, we may not be able to thoroughly investigate the complaint.
A complaint will remain confidential, unless the Board files disciplinary charges against the licensee, at which point the complaint and all investigative information will be provided to the licensee for purposes of the disciplinary hearing.
How do I file a complaint?
Complaints must be submitted in writing. A is available for your use. After completing the form, it will be submitted directly to our office. You will also be offered an opportunity to print a copy for your record.
You are not required to use our complaint form and may mail your complaint to:
Iowa Board of Pharmacy
400 SW 8th St Ste E
Des Moines, IA 50309
Complaints may also be emailed to email@example.com.
Your complaint should include:
- Your name and current contact information;
- The name of the licensee/registrant involved, including the address if the licensee/registrant is a business;
- A detailed summary of the alleged incident(s);
- The date of the alleged incident(s) and the patient/consumer involved; and
- Any documentation which supports your allegations.
To verify your complaint was received successfully or request a complaint form be mailed to you, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (515) 281-6674.
What happens next?
Board staff will review your complaint to determine if the Board has jurisdiction over the allegations. The Board will contact you if we do not have jurisdiction and may refer your complaint to the appropriate agency.
If the Board has jurisdiction, an investigation will be initiated and assigned to a compliance officer. A compliance officer may or may not contact you for further information during their investigation.
An investigative report will be completed and provided to the Board after the investigation is completed. The Board reviews investigative reports in closed session (not open to the general public) during its regularly scheduled meetings, which are held approximately every 6-8 weeks.
The investigation and Board review of the investigative report can take several months. All investigative information is confidential under Iowa Code section 272C.6(4) and the Board is prohibited from sharing this confidential information with you. You will be notified at the conclusion of the Board’s review of the outcome. If the Board closed the complaint, you will be notified of the closure, but will not be provided additional information regarding the reason for the closure and will not be told if the Board sent a confidential letter of education or administrative warning to the licensee. If the Board filed disciplinary charges, you will be able to view the public disciplinary charges and the final outcome (when available) on the Board’s website.
If any disciplinary charges are filed, you may be asked to testify as a witness at a hearing.
The Board may close a complaint with no further action for a variety of reasons. This does not mean that the Board agrees with or approves of the conduct alleged. A licensee’s response to the incident, including remedial action, prior complaint history, and sufficiency of the evidence are some of the factors taken into consideration when deciding to close a complaint with no further action.
If a violation is established, the Board may:
- Issue a confidential Letter of Education or Administrative Warning. These letters are maintained as part of the licensee’s internal file and are not public records.
- Pursue disciplinary action. You will be notified if disciplinary action is taken. Disciplinary actions are public records.
When will I be notified of a decision?
The investigation and review process can take several months to complete. The time period may vary depending on the length of the investigation and the nature of the complaint. If the Board votes to take disciplinary action against a licensee/registrant, you may not be notified until a public disciplinary case has been filed.
Otherwise when the Board makes a final decision, you will be notified in writing.
All information obtained by the Board must remain confidential under Iowa law. Pursuant to Iowa Code section 272C.6(4), the Board is prohibited by law from sharing this confidential information with you.
Email email@example.com or call (515) 281-6674 for more information.