Ex-pharmacist challenges deregistration decision, this time in Supreme Court

A pharmacist who was struck off for supplying counterfeit Viagra has again attempted to appeal the decision

Mina Attia, the owner of Shopsmart Wholesale pharmacies across Sydney, had his registration cancelled in December 2016 following claims he was involved in the wholesale purchase and on-selling of counterfeit Viagra.

As part of the orders, Mr Attia is unable to apply for a review of the cancellation order for a period of 12 months.

He is also required to divest himself of any relevant interest within six months. Mr Attia presently has an interest in four Sydney pharmacies including one of which he is full owner.

While the decision by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal took effect on the date it was handed down – 23 December 2016 – Mr Attia challenged the decision before a principal member of the tribunal, claiming an error had been made by his legal representation that deprived him of the right to appeal.

The tribunal member was unable to accept the proposition that a purported error had arisen and refused to alter the decision, saying “Mr Attia and his representatives were squarely on notice that the order sought by the Commission was the cancellation of his registration as a pharmacist”.

Mr Attia most recently brought his case before the Supreme Court of NSW in late February, seeking an interlocutory order to have his name reinstated to the register of pharmacists until an appeal of the tribunal’s decision can be made.

Justice Lucy McCallum, who oversaw the proceedings, heard Mr Attia argue that the impugned conduct was not by him in the practice of his profession as a pharmacist, but as a wholesaler whose licence was held by Hillmear – the company of which he was sole director at the time of the conduct.

Mr Attia also made further submissions specifying further grounds of appeal, arguing that the tribunal had made several errors in its findings and throughout the legal process.

However Justice McCallum said in her decision handed down on 3 March that there were “compelling reasons” not to grant an interlocutory restorative injunction to Mr Attia, citing the National Law’s guiding principle of the protection of the health and safety of the public.

In addition she noted that AHPRA had already removed his name from the register of pharmacists, and added it to the public national register of pharmacists whose registration has been cancelled.

She said restoring Mr Attia’s registration would present complex difficulties:

“If a restorative injunction were granted in the present case, how would the register disclose that information? What would be the ‘type of registration held by the practitioner’? … What of the register of practitioners who were registered by the board and whose registration has been cancelled? Should Mr Attia’s name be included on both registers?”

Justice McCallum dismissed his application and ordered Mr Attia to pay the costs of the Health Care Complaints Commission.

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  1. William

    It is good that the courts have come down heavy on these types of crimes. He is very lucky that he has not been gaoled.

  2. Gavin Mingay

    He got a very stiff penalty… He will be hard up trying to find a new job…

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