A decade pretending to be a pharmacist

A man has been fined $10,000 after he was caught holding himself out to be a registered pharmacist when he was not

The man was alleged to have worked as a pharmacist between 25 and 29 June 2018 at a family-owned pharmacy in the Sydney suburb of Randwick.

It was alleged that he had dispensed scheduled medications on numerous occasions on 25, 27, 28 and 29 June 2018 at the pharmacy.

According to Channel Nine, the man had actually earned a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy in Ireland, but never completed the course required for him to register and practice in Australia.

But he went to work for his parents, who owned the pharmacy in question, as a pharmacist anyway.

This came to light when his parents went on an overseas trip and an inspector with the Pharmacy Council of NSW conducted a routine inspection of the pharmacy on 29 June 2018.

On this date, the Council inspector observed a sign near the dispensary stating that the man was the Pharmacist in Charge – and the man claimed to be the registered pharmacist on duty.

However, the inspector could not find his registration on the public register of practitioners maintained by AHPRA, and ordered the pharmacy to be closed.

The man was subsequently charged with four counts of unlawfully holding himself out as a registered pharmacist.

AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher said the court outcome demonstrated AHPRA’s work to protect health consumers across Australia from those who are falsely claiming to be registered health practitioners.

“Claiming to be registered as a pharmacist, when you’re not violates the trust of patients and the community,” Mr Fletcher said.

“It creates a significant risk to the health and safety of the public and AHPRA will take all the necessary steps to protect Australia’s health consumers against such unscrupulous claims.”

Pharmacy Board of Australia Chair Brett Simmonds said the conviction sends a strong message to the community about the requirements of registration.

“Together with AHPRA, the Council and the Board will continue working collaboratively to protect the public by taking action against anyone who claims to be a registered pharmacist when they are not,” Mr Simmonds said.

Joyce Cooper, President of the Pharmacy Council of NSW added, “Protection of the health and safety of the public is maintained by ensuring that only pharmacists who are suitably trained and qualified to practise in a competent and ethical manner are registered”.

“Holding out as a pharmacist when not qualified to do so is unacceptable to all.”

As well as the $10,000 fine, the man has been ordered to pay AHPRA’s legal costs of $4,000.

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