Pharmacist Facing Charges
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Well-known local pharmacist Joseph Martella, who operates the chain of Martella's Pharmacies, could lose his license after prosecutors charged him with 109 federal counts related to drug distribution this week. According to Department of State records, Martella's license is still active. Spokeswoman Ellen Lyon told Us she can't comment on Martella's case specifically, but she said in general, "The Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs is concerned about criminal offenses alleged against licensees." Generally, Lyon said, licensing boards wait until criminal charges have worked their way through the court system before suspending licenses, although many boards can do an emergency suspension if there's probable cause that the person is a clear and immediate threat to public safety. In addition, the Martella's Pharmacy chain itself is not necessarily immune from disciplinary action, since the Professional Pharmacy Act allows disciplinary action to be taken against a pharmacy based on actions of a pharmacist working at the pharmacy.