A former Walgreens employee stands accused of posing as a pharmacist for more than a decade, during which time she administered vaccinations and authorized over 745,000 prescriptions without any type of license. Kim Thien Le, the subject of a 14-page accusation document filed by the California State Board of Pharmacy, did at one point hold a pharmacy technician license, but it expired in 2008, KTVU reported.
“There’s a major difference between a pharmacist and a pharmacist technician,” Bob Davila, spokesman for the board, told KTVU. “Pharmacists have to go through a lot of educational requirements and meet stringent state requirements to get a license.”
Investigators claim that Le was employed by Walgreens from 2006 through 2017 at three different locations and that she provided pharmacist license numbers for two different people with similar names. They allege that over 100,000 of the prescriptions she filled involved controlled substances. A spokesman for the company said that Le was fired in 2017.
Investigators reportedly grew suspicious after visiting a pharmacy that had distributed medication with inadequate labeling. Prescriptions for alprazolam were reportedly missing a watermark, checked boxes indicating a refill limit and other state requirements. According to the Los Angeles Times, Le was listed as the pharmacist who oversaw those prescriptions.
“This individual is no longer employed by Walgreens, and has not been since October 2017,” the spokesman told KTVU. “Upon learning of this issue, we undertook a re-verification of the licenses of all our pharmacists nationwide to ensure that his was an isolated incident.”
According to the complaint, when confronted by investigators Le allegedly offered to pay a fine and agreed to never work as a pharmacist again. Then she reportedly claimed to hold a pharmacy degree from Creighton University, but that was later debunked. The revelations are leading some customers to question the company’s hiring practices.
“I personally am very shocked and I think those kinds of things should not be with such an esteemed brand,” customer Priya Naidu told KTVU.
Another customer told the news station that it was “really surprising and shocking.”
The Board of Pharmacy is determining whether the three locations that employed Le will have their pharmacy licenses taken away.