Misfilled prescription earned Nutting penalty

Posted Nov. 17, 2010, at 11:59 p.m.

AUGUSTA — Just a month before Republicans nominated pharmacist and state Rep. Robert Nutting, R-Oakland, to be the next speaker of the House, a state agency disciplined him for giving a customer the wrong medication.

On Oct. 1, the state Department of Professional and Financial Regulation sent Nutting a letter detailing the con-sent agreement he signed with the department and the Attorney General’s Office.

The consent agreement says that the department’s investigation of a complaint from “customer B.H.” found that Nutting had filled a prescription for the customer’s son with the anti-psychotic drug Zolpidem rather than Zoloft, an anti-depressant.

“Fortunately,” said the report, “B.H. realized the error before any of the prescription was taken.”

The prescription was filled on Aug. 11, 2009, at Wal-Mart in Waterville, where Nutting has worked since closing his Oakland pharmacy, Trues.

The report says Nutting admitted the error and also “admits that such conduct constitutes grounds for disciplin-ing him.”

Nutting agreed to accept a written warning from the department, pay a civil penalty of $100 and complete three hours of “board-approved continuing education on the topic of misfills.”

Doug Dunbar, spokesman for the professional regulation department, said he had no data on how common it is for a pharmacist to misfill a prescription.

“With regard to the frequency of disciplinary decisions or consent agreements involving the incorrect filling of a prescription, I can’t provide a specific answer without records being reviewed and the running of a report,” he said.

“At this point, I can only speak generally and indicate that although the number of disciplinary cases is relatively low, it’s not uncommon for them to involve the incorrect filling of a prescription.”

Dunbar said Nutting has paid the fine and completed the course.

Nutting said the action against him by the state board “is not pertinent” to his nomination as speaker of the House.

Dr. John Schloss, professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of New England College of Pharmacy, said of the Zolpidem: “I don’t think this is life threatening or anything … It’s not going to hurt them; it might make them feel groggy.”

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