Medi-Cal License – Golden Drugs Co., Inc., v. David Maxwell-Jolly, 2009 DJDAR 17169 (December 9, 2009)

Plaintiff, a pharmacy, appealed from a judgment denying its petition for writ of mandamus (California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1085), which challenged the termination of the plaintiff’s Medi-Cal provisional provider license by the Department of Health Care Services.  The pharmacy disputed that it allowed a pharmacy technician to dispense medication without direct supervision and control of a pharmacist.  The plaintiff contended that the court should reconsider the evidence, as it was insufficient to support the judgment.     The plaintiff further claimed that the department’s actions were arbitrary, capricious and denied the plaintiff due process.  The appeals court affirmed the judgment. 

In so ruling, the appeals court found that the trial court’s review of the department’s action is limited to determine whether an action is arbitrary, capricious, entirely lacking in evidentiary, or contrary to law.  Under the applicable California Business and Professions Code, a pharmacy technician must not dispense medication in the absence of a pharmacist’s supervision dispenses.  There was evidentiary support vis a vis declarations of an auditor, who saw a technician fill prescriptions while the pharmacist was busy.  Thus, the department’s finding that the plaintiff violated the applicable code section and its decision to terminate the provisional provider status was no devoid of evidentiary support.

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