Hallucinating Pharmacist Suspended on Drug Abuse Charges

The Washington State Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission has suspended the credentials of a pharmacist following several alleged dispensing errors and reports of potential hallucinations.

The Washington State Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission has suspended the credentials of a pharmacist following several alleged dispensing errors and reports of potential hallucinations.

At the center of the case is Benton County pharmacist Benjamin David Walling, who worked at Yokes Pharmacy.

The commission reported on charges that Walling appeared impaired and confused on or around September 21, 2015, and that he experienced hallucinations that there were patients hiding in the counseling room and standing at the pharmacy counter.

“Respondent could not focus on the computer and would just stand there and look at it,” alleged the statement of charges. “Respondent forgot basic computer tasks and was confused on how to process a refill.”

Other strange behavior from Walling included taking a phone refill request and not writing down the name of the patient. He’s also accused of providing the wrong medication to 2 patients and filling the wrong quantity to 2 other patients.

The statement of charges said that he was supposed to dispense oxcarbazepine 150 mg to Patient B, but instead, he dispensed it to Patient A.

Patient C had an Rx for Percocet 5/325 mg tab, but Walling allegedly dispensed hydrocodone/APAP 5/325 tab instead.

Patient D had a prescription for OxyContin 30 mg tab #30, but Walling allegedly dispensed Oxycontin 30 mg tab #20.

Lastly, Patient E needed paroxetine 20 mg tabs #30 with 2 refills, but Walling allegedly dispensed paroxetine 30 mg tabs #90. He billed for #30, but gave the patient #90.

Walling’s also accused of filling a Schedule IV controlled substance for himself, according to the commission. A urinalysis showed that he tested positive for fentanyl.

On or around September 20, 2015, Walling admitted to putting on a 50 mcg fentanyl patch that belonged to Patient F.

“The commission finds that the respondent’s use of a controlled substance and impaired practice…justifies making a determination of immediate danger and a decision to immediately suspend the Respondent’s credential pending a hearing on the matter,” the order stated.

Walling has 20 days to respond to the charges and request a hearing.

In addition to regulating Washington pharmacists, the Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission “establishes, monitors, and enforces qualifications for licensing, consistent standards of practice, continuing competency mechanisms and discipline.”