Banned for stealing and possession

A pharmacist has been disqualified from reapplying for registration after using his position to obtain restricted drugs, and covering up the evidence through fictitious transactions

A 41-year-old pharmacist has been reprimanded by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal for behaving in a way that it deemed constituted “professional misconduct”.

The pharmacist was first registered in 2004 and maintained that registration until January 2014.

His misconduct relates to the wrongful acquisition of various controlled, restricted and addictive drugs on a number of occasions.

This included obtaining them through deceit from the pharmacy where he was employed, and covering this up in a number of ways – including the creation of fictitious transactions to explain the disappearance of the drugs.

It was discovered the pharmacist had been taking medicines from the pharmacy without authority; procuring restricted drugs without prescriptions; making dishonest entries of details under existing and non-existing patient names; and taking medicines dishonestly, without prescriptions and without paying for them.

His conduct first came to light when his employer found drugs in his car and notified AHPRA.

Following this, the pharmacist then promptly self-reported his conduct to AHPRA, and checked himself into rehab.

He had a history of drug misuse, including controlled drugs, restricted drugs and other medications, including testosterone, anabolic steroids, morphine, endone, oxycodone, fentanyl, amphetamines, ventolin, insulin, growth hormones, stanozolol and nandrolone.

Since January 2014 the pharmacist has not renewed his registration, and his name was removed from the register.

In October 2014, the pharmacist pleaded guilty in the Magistrates Court to two charges of stealing as a servant and possession of dangerous drugs. He was ordered to serve two years’ probation with no conviction recorded.

After undertaking a teaching qualification at the end of 2014, the pharmacist pursued a career in teaching and has since obtained full-time employment in the area.

“There is evidence that he is well regarded in this role,” said the tribunal in its decision.

“The evidence suggests that this is prudent and so far successful attempt at rehabilitation in a field that is different than pharmacy where undesirable temptations would be ever present.

“The pharmacist’s removal from a work place where there is constant contact with drugs, and, for him, temptations, is a deliberate and commendable.”

However it found that the pharmacist’s “substance abuse and illegal behaviour, involving breach of trust as an employee and the misuse of drugs, are so interconnected with his work as a pharmacist that it must be characterised as professional misconduct, and a finding should be made that the respondent is not a fit and proper person to hold registration.”

The tribunal reprimanded the pharmacist and disqualified him from re-applying for registration for a period of three years. He was also ordered to pay the Board’s costs of $12,000.

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  1. Jarrod McMaugh

    This sounds like a situation that was at least contributed to by workplace and social pressures with high this pharmacist was not coping.

    While permanently banning from registration may be appropriate, I hope that the fine comes with a payment plan so that this does not cause further financial strain.

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