Golob v. Arizona Medical Board – 2/5/2008

February 13, 2008

Arizona Court of Appeals Division One Holds That Doctor Providing Prescriptions Over the Internet Without Examining Patients May Be Disciplined.

Following an investigation in 2004, the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy notified appellee the Arizona Medical Board (the “Board”) that Dr. Golub was issuing prescriptions over the internet without ever having physically examined the patients for whom the prescriptions were written. The Board investigated and issued several findings against Dr. Golub. The Board imposed discipline on Dr. Golub in the form of a Decree of Censure, 5 years of professional probation, a $10,000 civil penalty, and a suspension of her license of no more than 12 months, to terminate upon her completion of various ethics courses. After her appeal to the Board was denied, she petitioned the superior court, which affirmed the Board’s order.

In her appeal, Dr. Golub first questioned the jurisdiction of the Board, arguing that no proof existed that her patients were in Arizona. The Court of Appeals rejected this argument, explaining, among other reasons, that her licensure in Arizona was sufficient to subject her to the jurisdiction of the Board.

Reviewing Dr. Golub’s challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence presented, the Arizona Appeals Court applied the substantial evidence standard, while giving “great weight” to the Board’s interpretation of the statutes in question here. Relying in part on the doctor’s admission that in no case did she examine any of these patients, the precedents of several courts of other states, and the policies of the American Medical Association, the Court found substantial evidence supported the Board’s findings of unprofessional conduct.

Finally, the Court of Appeals addressed Dr. Golub’s claim that ARS § 32-1401(27)(q) and (ss) are unconstitutionally vague. Citing the decision of a Colorado court in the parallel case of Brighton Pharmacy, Inc. v. Colorado State Pharmacy Board, 160 P.3d 412 (Colo App. 2007), the Court rejected Dr. Golub’s argument.

Judge Ehrlich authored the decision in which judges Thompson and Johnsen joined.