Longtime phony Walgreens pharmacist gave out 745,000 prescriptions, authorities say

/ CBS News

San Jose, Calif. — A Bay Area woman is accused of posing as a pharmacist and handing out some 745,000 prescriptions before she was caught, the California Board of Pharmacy confirmed Wednesday.

According to the board, Kim Thien Le told them she'd attended Creighton University, but records revealed she'd never graduated. When the Board asked Le for her pharmacist license number, they said they discovered she'd used the license numbers of two pharmacists with similar names.

CBS San Francisco reports that, during questioning, Le told the board, "Me and my son would be very grateful if you could just forget about this."

According to documents filed by the board, Le handled 745,355 prescriptions in the course of a decade as a pharmacist and pharmacy manager.

She worked at Walgreens in San Jose, Milpitas and Fremont.

"I'm just shocked beyond belief that this would happen here at Walgreens, a place that we trust," said customer Sandra Cervantez. "It really makes me suspect of how we're checking pharmacists' backgrounds."

Le isn't the only one in trouble. The board is looking at revoking Walgreens' pharmacy licenses for the stores where she worked.

Walgreens couldn't tell the board if it had requested or reviewed Le's pharmacist license and couldn't furnish her employment application during the agency's investigation.

"Walgreens should've done a better job in screening," said customer Monte Williams.

A Walgreens spokesperson said that Le stopped working for the company in 2017 and that the company "undertook a re-verification of the licenses of all our pharmacists nationwide to ensure that this was an isolated incident."

When asked how Le was able to work at Walgreens for so long under the guise that she was a pharmacist, the spokesperson didn't want to comment.

"Something has to change either with Walgreens or the way people are checked for their backgrounds," said Cervantez.

The case remains under investigation.

First published on January 31, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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