real opinions about fake Walgreens pharmacist
Maybe it’s the big number — 745,355 illicit prescriptions. Or the audacity of Kim Thien Le to allegedly perform pharmacist duties at 395 Walgreens, including three in the Bay Area, when she really wasn’t a pharmacist at all. Or the fact that the charade went on for years before it prompted an investigation by the California Board of Pharmacy.
Whatever it was, the story has touched a nerve in the Bay Area, judging by the slew of comments readers have left on our website.
Here’s the gist: State investigators say that for more than a decade, three Walgreens drugstores — one each in Fremont, Milpitas and San Jose — allowed Le to act like a real pharmacist and even weigh in on patients’ drug use as she verified or dispensed more than 700,000 prescriptions from hundreds of Walgreens pharmacies. If the allegations hold up, a state spokesman said each store could face a range of penalties, including a revocation of its state pharmacy license.
Here are some of the comments from readers:
“Funny how this could ONLY happen in California, my pharmacy can tell me if I am trying to fill a script a day early let alone a fake prescription.'” (From “TJQP”)
“The take away from this story: A pharmacy license isn’t really necessary to be an excellent pharmacist.” (From “frgough”)
“She needs to be charged with a crime.'” (From “Happy Customer”)
“If she was placed in a supervisory position and no one complained about her performance, it does not sound like she was incompetent. If you cannot define the crime, your opinions about whether she should be charged are irrelevant to this discussion. As Lincoln observed, licensing and prohibition attempt to make crimes out of things which are not. If the potential punishment involves a prison sentence, but you cannot demonstrate to a grand jury that she injured or defrauded the customers, then you cannot claim to be representing the public, and you certainly do not represent me. If all men have equal rights, then you have no right to decide which medicines I can use and where I can buy them.” (From “Disqus”)
“So let’s start out with identity theft, then move on to fraud and theft charges for defrauding Walgreens out of a salary for a pharmacist. Move on next to the sale of Controlled substances. The list can go on and in.'” (From “BJMurfy”)
“If Walgreens filed a complaint, and you can prove all of those other things, fine. But for all we know at this point, she might have helped a lot of people who desperately needed it. As for the sale of controlled substances, I have already made the point that I want others to consider here (which is the difference between illegal and unlawful.)” (From “Disqus”)
“This obsession with licensing is ridiculous. Did she do her job? Could you imagine if you had your hair cut by what turned out to be your unlicensed barber? The horror! They do have ridiculous licensing requirements to be a barber. The only thing there are no qualifications for is to be a politician.'” (From Dale Holmgren)
“Licensing is often an ineffective method of protecting the public from malpractice. I know some excellent physicians who could tell you all kinds of horror stories about how incompetent their colleagues are. There are countless cases where the patient was more educated about their condition than their physician, and they could not obtain the right medication simply because they could not afford to go doctor shopping. Millions of people suffer in silence today because they don’t have access to the medication they need — and I am not just speaking of painkillers here. For example, many physicians don’t know how to recognize and treat fungal infections caused by the over-prescribing of antibiotics, and some of the diagnostics they rely on are no more accurate than flipping a coin.” (From “Disqus”)
“Well if you would like your medications filled by an unlicensed pharmacy tech, you can be my guest. A barber is just a little bit different than someone filling prescriptions for controlled substances. What a stupid response.” (From “Primrose DeVille”)
“How about a doctor then? That occupational license they carry to practice medicine proves nothing especially when you consider that the student graduating dead last in their medical school class is still called doctor. But hey, they have a license so their good to go right.” (From JKramer)
“Unbelievable that it only took the California Pharmacy Board over 10 years to catch on. Also, how was she able to even get hired at Walgreen’s in the first place? Something makes no sense here. Don’t they have an HR department to verify state licensure?” (From “milpitasguy”)
“She was a licensed pharmacy technician but lied about completing pharmacy school (she was already employed by walgreens as a technician). Somehow she managed to get hired as a pharmacist without proper documentation. Someone else must have been in on it!'”(From Angela Hernandez)
“As long as you can count to 60, you’re a licensed pharmacist.” (From “emyzne”)