Diabetes Association Accused of Dispensing Without License

POSTED: Thursday, March 19, 2009 - 5:05pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 2:23pm

EL PASO--- The El Paso Diabetes Association has come under fire for some serious accusations.

"I can assure you there was nothing illegal or wrong done, knowingly or intentionally," said the E.P.D.A's Executive Director Henry Brutus.

The accusations were included in a formal complaint filed with the Texas State Board of Pharmacy, said board executive director Gay Dodson.

It accuses E.P.D.A of illegally stocking insulin at its facility, and giving it out to patients without a license, said Dodson.

"There were never any exchanges of money, we felt that since (the insulin) was donated coming in, and donated going out, and there was a licensed pharmacist dispensing it, that we were fine," said Brutus.

It's a service the association has provided for 15 years.
Once a month, they give out insulin to uninsured or low income patients who have prescriptions, he said.

But those practices violate state law, said Dodson.

"They would have to have a prescription or a licensed practitioner and it would have to be dispensed by a pharmacist in a licensed facility," she said.

But E.P.D.A is not a licensed facility; and despite hiring a volunteer pharmacist this last year, the association hasn't always had a licensed pharmacist dispensing the insulin.

"Before that, there was someone on our staff dedicated to dispensing and that someone was with the proper credentials, we felt," said Brutus. "... But not necessarily a pharmacist."

An anonymous e-mail sent out to local reporters Tuesday also suggests the diabetes association is out of money.

The organization is $29,000 in the red, said Brutus, but they're working on ways to save money and get back on track.

While they work on financial shortfalls, they've also stopped giving insulin to patients, for now, said Brutus.

That, is while they wait to receive formal recommendations from the state pharmacy board.

The board has already mailed the formal review to the association, said Dodson.

That review is asking the association to stop the practice, and get a pharmacy license, she said.

If the association does not follow the pharmacy board's recommendations, Dodson said, the board will report the case to the State Attorney General.

When asked why the board could not discipline the association, Dodson replied, "The only people we can discipline are people who hold licenses with us."

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