Acting irresponsibly


Range of regulatory breaches revealed in Authority documents

The latest communique from the Victorian Pharmacy Authority has revealed a range of regulatory breaches previously under investigation by the authority.  

The VPA conducted five panel hearings in June 2017 into breaches of pharmacy regulations.

In one case a licensee was reprimanded for “numerous discrepancies” in a Schedule 8 register when compared with stock on hand.

“Buprenorphine was not stored in accordance with the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations and the destruction of a Schedule 8 poison was not witnessed by an authorised person. The pharmacist had also failed to act on shortcomings that had been brought to attention at a previous inspection concerning security, mandatory references and delays in recording transactions in Schedule 8 poisons”.

The licensee was reprimanded and required to produce evidence of steps taken to reconcile S8 discrepancies.

In another case, unsatisfactory security and storage of S8 poisons, a discrepancy of over 2.5 litres of methadone liquid concentrate and a failure to undertake systematic barcode scanning formed the basis of allegations against an owner.

There were ten other matters that had been raised from an earlier inspection, the VPA said, including deficiencies in privacy-related matters but these had not been properly addressed.

The licensee was reprimanded. The Authority subsequently ordered that the pharmacy be reinspected at the licensee’s cost, and imposed a condition on the licence requiring the licensee to undertake the PSA course in Ethics and Dispensing in Pharmacy Practice.

A third case saw an owner reprimanded for failing to install a monitored security alarm system in a new pharmacy, having declared in a notification to the Authority that an operational and monitored alarm had been installed in order to obtain conditional registration of the premises.

There was also no approved weighing equipment in the dispensary and prescription reception and counselling points did not meet the requirements of the guidelines.

In addition “schedule 3 poisons were not displayed appropriately and the schedule 8 safe was used for the storage of items other than drugs of dependence,” the communique stated.

The Panel referred the matter back to the Authority to consider whether it should commence proceedings in the Magistrate’s Court under section 79 of the Act for provision of false or misleading information.

A final case saw two experienced pharmacists reprimanded for a wide range of non-compliance issues.

An inspection revealed: 17 discrepancies in accounting for S8 poisons, the key to an S8 safe was not secured and transactions in S8 poisons were not recorded in a timely manner. Barcode scanning was not carried out routinely, displays of S3 poisons contravened the DPCS Regulations and storage of codeine-containing medicines contravened the Authority’s Guidelines.

In addition, filling records for dose administration aids and works of reference were inadequate, the VPA said.

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