The California State Board of Pharmacy says a former Walgreens employee authorized more than 750,000 prescription while working without a pharmacist license, KTVU-TV reported.
What's the story?
According to the state, Kim Thien Le was employed as a pharmacist and pharmacy manager from 2006 through 2017. She reportedly worked at three different San Francisco Bay Area Walgreens stores in Fremont, Milpitas, and San Jose.
And Le never held a pharmacy license.
She only had a pharmacy technician license which expired in 2008, Bob Davila, a spokesman for the California State Board Of Pharmacy, told the TV station.
Her sham could also cause Walgreens stores lose their licenses, something the state pharmacy board is seeking.
"There's a major difference between a pharmacist and a pharmacist technician. Pharmacists have to go through a lot of educational requirements and meet stringent state requirements to get a license," Davila told KTVU.
While working at the national chain, Le allegedly issued more than 100,000 prescriptions for controlled substances. Some of them lacked proper documentation and had no refill limits, the state complaint states.
"Chemicals and drugs are very complicated and you want to be sure the person who's filling those prescriptions for you is up to date and knows everything that a pharmacist needs to know," Davila told KTUV.
Le allegedly used pharmacist license numbers that were issued to people with similar names. She also allegedly stated she earned a pharmacy degree from Creighton University in Nebraska.
But investigators found no records that showed she graduated.
Walgreens gave KTUV a written response that stated: "This individual is no longer employed by Walgreens, and has not been since October 2017. Upon learning of this issue, we undertook a re-verification of the licenses of all our pharmacists nationwide to ensure that this was an isolated incident."
Some customers told the TV station they are concerned about Walgreens' hiring process.
"The trust, it's more in the trust area that you feel what's going on here," said Osman Mohmand, a customer in Fremont, "For Walgreens to have done something like that is really surprising and shocking. I wouldn't expect that from a big organization like this."
Another customer, Priya Naidu, said she was "very shocked" that this happened with "esteemed brand."
KTVU also attempted to contact Le at her home. A young woman who answered the door said she was not Le and declined to comment, the report states.