An Anderson institution for nearly 45 years, Ferry’s Pharmacy has closed, and its patient records have been transferred to Owens Pharmacy.
Ferry’s last day of business was May 15.
The changeover to Owens took effect Monday and it comes after the state Board of Pharmacy on April 15 revoked Ferry’s Pharmacy’s permit and owner Dan Ferry’s license after an investigation found the business violated state pharmacy laws.
However, the revocation of Ferry’s license was stayed and placed on three years’ probation.
Ferry, a licensed pharmacist since 1966 who opened Ferry’s in 1975, now works at Owens in Anderson, which is about a block north on East Street from the former Ferry’s building.
“We welcome them (former Ferry’s Pharmacy customers) and we want to take care of them in the same way Dan has been able to take care of them for years,” said Linda Edwards, vice president of pharmacy operations for Owens. “I think Dan felt most comfortable with a local, independent pharmacy” buying his business.
Edwards said the disciplinary action the state took against Ferry had no bearing on Owens’ decision to retain him. She declined to elaborate.
Ferry, 76, told the Record Searchlight that he plans to work at Owens for about a month to help with the transition and then he hopes to retire.
He will miss his customers.
“I love them all. I really care about them,” Ferry said. “I’m over at Owens, and if you don’t think that hurts like hell.”
Among the laws the Board of Pharmacy alleged were violated were:
- Dispensing drugs with invalid expiration dates,
- Failing to properly secure drugs in a locked cabinet,
- Failing to maintain a current inventory of dangerous drugs,
- Failing to complete partially filled prescriptions within 72 hours,
- And dispensing medications based on prescriptions that did not comply with California law.
The board’s investigation was launched in September 2014 following a complaint by a former Ferry’s Pharmacy employee.
Documents show the state Board of Pharmacy said most of the errors were the result of Ferry failing to understand his own equipment, a lack of attention to detail and a lack of understanding of pharmacy law.
“Some of the respondents’ (Ferry) mistakes were simple error and readily corrected,” the report said.
Board documents say Ferry was surprised by the number of expired drugs the inspector found on the pharmacy’s shelves.
Ferry told the inspector that he paid a reverse distributor to come every six months and remove all expired drugs. But unbeknownst to Ferry, the distributor stopped coming, and it wasn’t until the inspector pointed out the expired drugs that Ferry realized the vendor had not pulled expired drugs off the shelves for at least a year, board documents show.
In a follow-up visit on April 3, 2017, to Ferry’s Pharmacy, a Board of Pharmacy inspector said he approved all the changes Ferry implemented after previous inspections “and found no repeated offenses,” documents show.
“His dedication to his pharmacy and community, as well his sincere desire to follow the law were apparent. The changes he has made are commendable,” the report said.
Said Ferry: “It’s so crazy. We had two inspections since that time and every inspection we were good.”
Ferry is well known in the North State. Board of Pharmacy documents on the matter include several letters of support from customers, patients, healthcare providers and former Shasta County Supervisor Trish Clarke, who lauded Ferry’s community involvement and the respect he has in Anderson.
Board documents also note that in 2016, Shasta County awarded Ferry the Health Care Hero award.
Ferry had been working for Jolly’s Pharmacy since 1966, when he purchased it in 1975 and changed the name to Ferry’s. Jolly’s was established in Anderson in 1949.
On Tuesday afternoon, former Ferry’s employees were at the business doing inventory and packing up, a job they expect will last for another two weeks.
“I’m sick — sick,” said Sandy Brinton, who was the lead pharmacy technician and assistant manager. “It’s just so sad. This place has been here for so long, we helped so many people in the community. They just don’t understand what we were doing in the community.”
Janine Duncan, who worked eight years at Ferry’s as the bookkeeper, said all of the violations were corrected in a timely manner.
“Nothing that was done was done to hurt the patients,” she said. “We weren’t trying to hurt anybody. It wasn’t like we were trying to do something illegal.”
Though he is now working at Owens, Ferry’s license is still on probation and he must comply with the conditions of the probation for three years, state Board of Pharmacy spokesman Bob Avila said.
Among the conditions, Ferry must report quarterly to the board, cooperate with board’s inspection program, provide evidence of continuing education, and notify employers of the board’s decision.
Ferry also was ordered to pay $ 40,347, the cost of the investigation and prosecution, and pay any costs associated with probation monitoring.
Ferry owns the East Street building in which his pharmacy operated. At this point, he doesn’t know what will move in to the former pharmacy space or what his long-term plans are for the property.
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David Benda covers business, development and anything else that comes up for the USA TODAY Network in Redding. He also writes the weekly “Buzz on the Street” column. He’s part of a team of dedicated reporters that investigate wrongdoing, cover breaking news and tell other stories about your community. Reach him on Twitter @DavidBenda_RS or by phone at 1-530-225-8219. To support and sustain this work, please subscribe today.