from Montgomery Circuit Court (CV-16-901576)
THOMPSON, PRESIDING JUDGE.
Alabama State Board of Pharmacy ("the board")
appeals from a judgment of the Montgomery Circuit Court
("the circuit court") that reduced the punishment
the board had imposed on pharmacist Demetrius Yvonne Parks
and certain pharmacies that Parks owned. The circuit court
upheld the board's determination that Parks and the
pharmacies had violated numerous provisions of the Alabama
Pharmacy Practice Act ("the PPA"), § 34-23-1
et seq., Ala. Code 1975, however.
the third time that these parties have come before this court
in connection with this matter. The first time they appeared
before us, this court issued a writ of mandamus directing the
circuit court to vacate an order amending a previous stay
order without first providing the board an opportunity to
present evidence challenging the propriety of the changes in
the amended stay order. The amended stay order had eased
restrictions against Parks and the pharmacies put in place by
the initial stay order. Ex parte Alabama State Bd. of
Pharmacy, 240 So.3d 594 (Ala. Civ. App. 2017).
in Ex parte Alabama State Board of Pharmacy, 253
So.3d 972, 974 (Ala. Civ. App. 2017), this court concluded
that the circuit court had exceeded its authority when it
ordered the board to void a report required by federal law
advising of the disciplinary action that had been taken
against Parks and the pharmacies pending a final judicial
review of the board's decision.
appeal, we address the board's appeal of the circuit
court's judgment that upheld the board's decision
determining that Parks and the pharmacies had violated the
PPA but reduced the sanctions the board imposed against Parks
and the pharmacies. Specifically, the board contends that the
circuit court erred by substituting its judgment for that of
the board in easing those sanctions, even though the circuit
court had found that substantial evidence supported the
charges the board had levied against Parks and the pharmacies
and the discipline imposed by the board was within the
board's statutory authority.
evidence presented at the hearing before the board
demonstrated that Parks operated a pharmacy with a proper
permit at a location in Hayneville. She also operated two
pharmacies in Montgomery and another in Gadsden. All of those
pharmacies had obtained the proper permits from the board.
Hayneville pharmacy closed because its building was
condemned. Parks then operated from a new location in
Hayneville. However, she did not obtain a permit for that
location. The new location had a sign over the door reading
"Parks," and a sign on the door said: "All
medications will be mailed out." A telephone number was
provided for people needing assistance with prescriptions.
board received a complaint regarding the new Hayneville
location from the Alabama Medicaid Agency. On May 6, 2015, in
response to that complaint, board inspector Glenn Wells
visited the Hayneville location. Libby Burke was the only
employee present at that location; no pharmacist or pharmacy
technician was there at the time of Wells's inspection.
At the new location, Wells found a stockroom containing
prescription drugs in stock bottles. There was also a box of
filled prescriptions in the stockroom. Wells also discovered
patient records, a patient signature log, pharmacy records,
and prescriptions that had been faxed to the Hayneville
location. The fax number for the Hayneville pharmacy location
had been transferred from the original Hayneville location to
the new location. Burke told Wells that she would forward the
prescriptions she received to one of Parks's pharmacies
in Montgomery, where she would later pick up the filled
prescriptions and deliver them to patients.
Wells visited, Burke's vehicle was parked in front of the
Hayneville location. When Burke gave Wells permission to look
in the trunk of her vehicle, he found prescription
medications inside it. He also found labels to apply to
medicine bottles when they were delivered to patients. Wells
said that Burke told him she would sometimes meet people
inside the building or in the parking lot of the Hayneville
location for them to pick up their prescriptions. Burke would
also process payments for prescriptions at the Hayneville
location. While Wells was there, he said, a woman arrived to
pick up prescription medication for her husband and herself.
Montgomery, Parks operated two pharmacies--one on Mulberry
Street and one on Adams Avenue. In November 2014, Parks
notified the board that she was closing both locations, and
the permits for both locations were ended. Within the month,
Parks then reopened the Mulberry Street pharmacy using the
permit from the Adams Avenue location, which was no longer
valid. The Mulberry Street pharmacy purchased controlled
substances from a wholesale drug provider after the permit
had been ended. The board concluded that the actions were
taken in an effort to avoid having to repay Medicaid more
than $300, 000 as part of a recoupment order.
27, 2015, Wells inspected the Mulberry Street pharmacy. That
inspection revealed incomplete, inaccurate, or incorrect
records for controlled substances, as well as invoices for
controlled substances that had not been signed by a
pharmacist. The Mulberry Street pharmacy also filled
prescriptions using labels showing that they were from a
Parks pharmacy in Selma that had closed two years before.
inspected the Gadsden pharmacy on January 28, 2015, and on
May 21, 2015. Although the pharmacy was open on both
occasions, a pharmacist was not present. Nonetheless, the
pharmacy received prescriptions from physicians, and
prescriptions were filled and dispensed. Wells also found
that prescription medication was stored outside the pharmacy
area, that drugs were stored in excessive heat, and that a
computer containing patient information was located outside
the pharmacy area.
Green, a federal inspector from the Drug Enforcement Agency
("the DEA"), also inspected the Mulberry Street
pharmacy, which had two DEA registration numbers. During
Green's inspection, the Mulberry Street pharmacy was
unable to provide him with certain required documentation. He
also found that the Mulberry Street pharmacy had purchased
controlled substances using an invalid controlled-substance
registration number on ...