In the past 6 months, we have seen an increase in prosecutions by the State Dental Board for possession of outdated drugs. We believe that an overall increase in the number of investigations is the cause of this.
When a complaint is filed against a dentist, the Bureau of Enforcement Investigation (BEI) opens a file and starts an investigation.
We have found that most of the time, investigators from BEI will show up at a dentist office and announce that they are investigating an anonymous complaint. The BEI investigators will then seek to ask questions and interrogate both the dentist and his or her staff. The investigators will also request to search the office, often going through examination rooms, dental assistant's carts and supply closets.
Even if the dentist and the staff answer all questions appropriately, the investigators will look for expired or outdated drugs.
Any outdated or expired drugs found, including outdated composites or antibiotics will be photographed by the investigators and subsequently used as evidence by a prosecutor who may file a complaint against the dentist for violations of the Dental Act.
49 Pa. Code §33.210 titled Storage of Drugs reads as follows:
(v) Outdated or deteriorated drugs shall be identified as such and shall be segregated in the storage area pending their return to the manufacturer or their appropriate disposal. The dentist shall maintain records reflecting the final disposition of these products.
Even if the initial complaint filed against the dentist is unfounded, the dentist can be sanctioned for being in possession of outdated drugs if the BEI investigators located the outdated drugs during the course of their investigation.
If investigators from BEI show up at your office, you are not required to speak with them nor are you required to allow them to enter or search your office. It is best to decline to speak with them and do not allow them to search the office.
If the BEI investigators show up at your office, You should simply take a card from the investigator and contact our offices in order to best protect your rights.
You should be advised that anything you or a member of your staff tells the investigator can be used against you in a prosecution.
There are occasions when an investigator from BEI may show up at your office with a Subpoena for patient files. If this happens, you may be required to provide the investigators with a copy of the patient file. Do not give the original file to the investigator, and always make a copy of any documents you provide to an investigator. Contact us immediately so we can help protect your rights through this process.