Former Econofoods pharmacist testifies in Des Moines - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Former Econofoods pharmacist testifies in Des Moines

DES MOINES (KWWL) -- Yesterday we heard from Roni Ferraro, a former Dubuque Econofoods Pharmacy customer who's calling for action after she says her privacy rights were violated. On November 30th, 2009, Nash Finch, the company who owns the Econofoods. Announced they were closing it's Dubuque store.

Immediately following the announcement, Hy-Vee food stores purchased all prescriptions from Econofoods Pharmacy and transferred them to their Dodge Street location. Wednesday, Ferraro and a former Econofoods pharmacist met with the Iowa Board of Pharmacy in a closed hearing.

The pharmacy board meeting was open to the public but once Econofoods had the option to declare it a closed hearing. We were asked to leave. However we did speak with Diane Heiken. The pharmacist who filed the original complaint. She filled us in on what happened behind closed doors.

Wednesday morning members of the Iowa Board of Pharmacy gathered in Des Moines to discuss several cases, specifically charges filed against Econofoods pharmacy in Dubuque.

Shortly after Judge Margaret LaMarsh began, Econofoods Attorney Brendan Quann asked for a closed session.

The media and all members of the public were asked to leave the room. While Diane Heiken and Roni Ferraro testified before the board, against Econofoods.

"I felt that there were a lot of patients affected in the way the closing was handled and I felt that they are laws in place and I wanted to let the board and the public know what can happen when they are not followed," Heiken said.

Heiken worked at the Econofoods Pharmacy before they closed. She is familiar with the law, requiring two weeks notice to the board and to customers as well as a clear explanation of customer rights. And she felt patients rights were violated.

"The law requires that there be a 14 day notice by the pharmacy that's closing so that patients have the option to make a transfer that they choose," Heiken said.

As a pharmacist, she felt responsible to report the code violation

"It felt as well as my own personal ethical standards that I was legally compelled to file the complaint," Heiken said.

She says most of her testimony consisted of questions from the board. Which she tried her best to answer, hoping her words help the board make a decision, bring justice to the case and prevent this from happening again.

"I really appreciate their time and I hope they can understand the impact it had on patients because it was handled so abruptly," Heiken said.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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