Real pharmacists speak out about the alleged fake Walgreens pharmacist.
A fake pharmacist who allegedly verified nearly 750,000 prescriptions over 10 years1 is receiving a good deal of attention from real pharmacists, as well as the public.
Kim Thien Le worked at 3 Walgreens locations (Fremont, Milpitas, and San Jose) in California, allegedly using the pharmacist license number of a similarly named individual. In addition to filling prescriptions, including more than 100,000 for controlled substances/narcotics, she is accused of counseling patients, administering immunizations and supervising staff, among other pharmacist duties.1
Le once was licensed as a pharmacy technician, but her license expired in 2008. A Walgreens representative told the Los Angeles Times that “Le’s employment ended in October 2017, and since the complaint was filed, the chain had undertaken a re-verification of all of its pharmacists’ licenses nationwide.”2
A routine visit by state pharmacy investigators to the Fremont Walgreens uncovered some controlled substances prescriptions that were dispensed without the required security measures, according to the California Board of Pharmacy complaint.
Investigators then looked at Le, who had verified these prescriptions, and the identity theft unraveled.
When confronted, she said, “Me and my son would be very grateful if you could just forget about this. I will pay whatever fine,” adding that she promised she would “not be coming back to work as a pharmacist.”1
The California Board of Pharmacy will determine whether the 3 Walgreens stores will have their pharmacy licenses revoked or suspended. A hearing date has not yet been set.1
Although the complaint was filed in October,1 news of the alleged fake pharmacist recently took over social media in pharmacy groups and elsewhere. Reactions from the public were widely varied.
Comments posted to social media included:
Pharmacists from around the country, including 1 who previously worked for Walgreens, also reacted outside of social media. (Some requested their last names not made public.)
Elizabeth also concluded: “If the community pharmacist was better utilized not just for dispensing skills, but for counseling, education, and more direct patient care, her fraud would have been more apparent and quickly uncovered. We should use this as professionals to propel our profession forward to move towards the performance and outcomes model that pharmacists have been proven to improve patient care.”