Absolutely not. An IDFPR investigator is a civilian investigator who possesses no police powers. Even if it was a local police officer who demanded that you immediately stop your clinic or office activities and submit to an interview, you are not required to submit. In the police officer scenario, you have an absolute constitutional right to not speak to any police official. The same is true for an IDFPR investigator. A civilian investigator may try to intimidate you into answering questions, but our strong advice is to not answer.
The best practice is to be polite and courteous to the IDFPR investigator. Inform them that you would be happy to answer their questions and will do so as soon as you have a chance to contact your attorney. Then terminate the conversation. It is trickier if the investigator demands to do an impromptu inspection of the premises – you have to determine whether they are authorized to perform a controlled substances inspection. The best practice is to let them inspect what they want. Note that the word inspect means inspect only. It does not mean they can make copies of documents or take documents with them. You or a trusted staff member should accompany the investigator at all times in your office.
As in all enforcement encounters, the best practice is to first copy their IDFPR credentials. Do not speak with anyone – ever – about your practice and never allow them into the employee-only area of the clinic or office unless you are completely confident of their identity. Next, politely ask them to explain the nature of the inquiry. It would help your case to write down all of the answers that you receive. There is no doubt that this action will unnerve the investigator and may convince them to terminate the encounter sooner than expected.
The investigator must treat you with respect and dignity at all times. More importantly, you should demand to be treated that way any time the encounter begins to become harassing or intimidating. If you are polite and establish upfront that you will not tolerate any intimidation, most IDFPR investigators will become meek and mild.
This topic has many facets and the above answer only touches a few points. For immediate answers to questions that affect your physician license, contact Williams & Nickl. Our firm focuses on professional license defense of doctors, physicians, and osteopaths.