Ex-pharmacist now a faith-based healer


The deregistered pharmacist at the centre of the counterfeit sildenafil scandal is now practising as a faith healer

Mina Attia has found himself a subject on A Current Affair this week, as the Channel Nine show reported that Mr Attia and his wife are now running a Sydney-based healing ministry based on the Christian faith.

The Celebrate Freedom ministry aims to heal illness, disease and conditions through prayer, according to the organisation’s website.

Mr Attia, the former owner of Shopsmart Wholesale pharmacies across Sydney, had his registration cancelled in December 2016 following revelations he had introduced counterfeit Viagra into the Sydney pharmaceutical market.

The discovery was made in June 2010 by a pharmacist working at the Sydney Children’s Hospital, who was crushing Viagra tablets for paediatric patients to use in the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension.

While the discovery was made before any harm occurred, the tribunal heard from a senior staff specialist at the Sydney Children’s Hospital that a paediatric patient with pulmonary hypertension would have been placed at significant risk if inadvertently treated with counterfeit understrength sildenafil.

The tribunal found that Mr Attia “ought to have known that the supplied Viagra was not genuine”, and that he provided false or misleading information to the TGA throughout the course of its investigation.

Mr Attia appealed the deregistration decision twice – first before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, and again in the Supreme Court in March. Both appeals were knocked back.

Mr Attia’s biography on the Celebrate Freedom website says he is a “qualified pharmacist” without mentioning his deregistration.

“Celebrate Freedom started out of an outflow of continuous prayer and dedication to the calling of God and His direction. As we started to pray for people and do the things that Jesus commanded us to do, we started to see healings and miracles happen in our midst,” Mr Attia writes in his bio.

He is currently completing a Masters of Arts in Christian Studies while conducting the English and Arabic healing ministry with his wife.

Professor Brad Frankum, NSW president of the Australian Medical Association, told A Current Affair he is worried about Mr Attia’s latest venture.

“It basically feeds on vulnerable people who are looking for a miracle cure, often to very severe illnesses. It offers them false hope,” he said.

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29 Comments

  1. Curtis Watson
    17/05/2017

    Seems like the next logical step for a man with zero conscience or ethics…
    Iridology or craniometry after that perhaps?

  2. pagophilus
    18/05/2017

    Giving Christians a bad name while he’s at it. I’d like to know what his cure rate is.

    • bernardlou1
      18/05/2017

      He needs to be stopped

    • MrScience
      19/05/2017

      There are plenty Christians who give the religion a bad name. Namely pharmacists that wont dispense the EC

      • pagophilus
        19/05/2017

        Whilst I have no problem with EC (though I do with termination), I support the right of those who disagree with it to not provide it. People should have the right to not participate in activities they see as abhorrent. And being forced to refer is de facto participation, although at arm’s length.

        First we need to decide whether there is such a human right to not have a baby (or rather whether there is a responsibility not to do certain things if one does not want one) and whether anything to do with the human body should be classified as “health care” or whether certain procedures are only services rendered but not health care as such. Ear piercing is not health care for example. Is termination?

        • MrScience
          20/05/2017

          What if I believed that serving black people was ‘abhorrent’? Would my view need to be respected and worked around?
          Your religion makes you incapable of fully performing your job. If you can’t do it, go become a priest or something

          • pagophilus
            20/05/2017

            You’re really digging yourself into a hole with this one, but….since you asked for it….

            You are talking hypotheticals. Who is likely to believe that serving black people is abhorrent? Nobody, though the likelihood of it being a Christian is much lower than the likelihood of it being an atheist. What we are talking about is believing an act, not a person, is abhorrent, and refusing to commit that act. Pretty much everyone believes that killing is wrong. Now, you can change the wording and call it abortion, termination or whatever, but the cessation of a life is still seen by many as abhorrent and they prefer not to be involved. People still disagree as to when exactly life begins, and prefer not to even be involved in EC. This is up to them. They are not discriminating. They refuse to provide a service (to everybody). Our job is not to take life, hence nothing spoken of here makes any Christian incapable of performing their job. Their job (as pharmacists) is to promote quality use of medicines to improve people’s health. Cessation of a life doesn’t quite fit that picture.

            Anyway, who is it that saw black people as being inferior to whites? It certainly wasn’t the Christians. Christians see everyone as being of equal value, as they believe all races to be descended from one original couple. Atheists on the other hand have a sordid history of racism. This comes from believing man to be descended from apes, and for a long time whites were thought to be more highly evolved, and therefore further from the apes, than blacks. This is still seen in that typical diagram often printed in textbooks of a series of creatures beginning from the crawling ape through to the upright human, and often the colour gets lighter and lighter as one progresses to the upright human. It subconsciously implants the idea into people’s heads even today that lighter-coloured humans are more highly evolved. The treatment of Australian Aboriginals and many others of coloured races is a testament to this evolutionary-based racism. Here’s a quote from Charles Darwin for you – from The Descent of man: “At some future period not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes…will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest Allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as the baboon, instead of as now between the Negro or Australian and the gorilla”

            So, next time do some research and think a bit before implying your so-called “scientific” views are superior to someone’s religion-based morality.

          • MrScience
            21/05/2017

            Mate, the science community is laughing at you. Look at the rate of decline of religion in this country. You are the minority. Society thinks you are a loon. It’s amazing how somebody educated can be fooled by such nonsense.

            To say atheists are evil and racist is hilarious. Slavery was justified by Americans through the Bible. Hitler himself was a Christian. Let’s not get started on ISIS…

            Would you justify an abortion if the birth would kill the mother? Would you force a 16 year old victim of rape to have her child? your ​answer is “no”. Not based on reason, but on an ancient book you choose to base your life on.

            I bet you would say homeopathy is nonsense…

          • pagophilus
            21/05/2017

            You love hypotheticals don’t you. By far the vast majority of abortions are simply because they don’t want a child, so your point is moot. Killing something because you don’t want is is immoral. In the 0.x% of other cases you can decide what is the best outcome.

          • danguidone
            21/05/2017

            the point may have been hypothetical, but it still probably deserves to be addressed – if someone holds a belief, what standard can we use to judge whether that belief is one upon which clinical decisions should be made?

          • pagophilus
            21/05/2017

            Legitimate religions have a well-defined set of beliefs and system of interpreting them. Unfortunately, mocking atheists go and muddy the waters with fake religions designed to stir and mock such as the church of the flying spaghetti monster, and then forcing authorities to treat them like a real religion and allow them to take their driver’s license photo with their religious headwear (colander) on their head. Yes, people should be required to justify their belief but if legitimate, should be allowed to stand by it. And the pastafarians should be reduced to the satirical act that they are and not be given airtime on serious matters.

          • danguidone
            22/05/2017

            ok, so who decides if religions are “legitimate”? do you really want someone making that decision?

          • Willy the chemist
            23/05/2017

            Religion is a set of beliefs, attitudes and practices, personal or institutionalised. Depending on how broad the definition, you could say that cosmology, astrology and ecology falls within the definition of religion.
            In the end, it should also pass the “intent” test. Is the intent of the Church of flying spaghetti monster to mock organised religion or base on a real set of beliefs, practices and attitudes?

        • Jarrod McMaugh
          22/05/2017

          I think the comment you made here:
          “First we need to decide whether there is such a human right to not have a baby (or rather whether there is a responsibility not to do certain things if one does not want one)”

          Can be applied to many situations, and definitely to pharmacists in their role when considering personal beliefs vs public expectation.

          For instance:
          First we need to decide whether there is such as right for pharmacists not to supply a medication (or rather whether there is a responsibility to not undertake a role if one does not want to supply a medication).

          There is definitely a discussion to be had… and it’s not black and white whether the pharmacists’ personal autonomy or the public’s expectations (or even the expectations of your employer, be it pharmacy or hospital) determines whether a legal and professionally accepted action will or won’t be provided.

          • pagophilus
            22/05/2017

            Public expectation should never be a driving force as to whether a service is provide or not. You risk descending the whole debate into populism.

          • Jarrod McMaugh
            22/05/2017

            I think that this is – again – too black and white.

            Public expectation must be a part of the factors that influence whether something is acceptable. At the very core of ethics and morals are the public values that drive evolution of these concepts.

            While public expectation shouldn’t be given the greatest weight, it absolutely needs to be included in the discussion.

          • pagophilus
            22/05/2017

            At the core of ethics is a host of ethical approaches which as mutually incompatible and each on their own has shortcomings. Deontology – do things because it is your duty. Can be subdivided further. The question one may ask is why the duty? Based on which rules? Consequentialism – an act is right or wrong based on its consequences. This can be abused to make it equate to the end justifies the means. There’s plenty more. In the end I believe people approach the ethics of something whichever way they want to to justify or condemn it.
            There’s only one way out – freedom for everyone to decide for themselves what they will or won’t participate in.

  3. ann stubley
    18/05/2017

    it was actually a Pharmacy Technician that discovered the fake!!! Give credit where credit is due.

    • bernardlou1
      18/05/2017

      Definitely
      Technicians are life savers

    • Sheshtyn Paola
      18/05/2017

      Hi Ann, Thank you for your message. The official decision published by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal states in these exact words: “a pharmacist working at the Sydney Children’s Hospital” discovered the counterfeit medicines. Unfortunately it does not mention a technician nor include the name of the person. Please feel free to email me with further information at spaola@appco.com.au as to your role in the incident. Kind regards, Sheshtyn (AJP)

  4. David T
    18/05/2017

    What a drop kick this guy is. How can someone who discredits the profession in such magnitude be given a ‘suspension’ for 12 months. They should shut down his whole operation in the interest of public safety.

  5. bernardlou1
    18/05/2017

    Someone need to stop this guy. He is a disgrace to humanity, Christians and the whole pharmacy profession.

  6. Tony Lee
    18/05/2017

    Faith healing has always been historically & includes the prophets and saints. The issue is it a charlatan practise or one with genuine intent to relieve suffering. The background to the story suggests a problem.

  7. Philip Smith
    19/05/2017

    What’s the going rate for a Faith healer?
    Could see pharmacist doing a few side gigs to supplement their wage? 🙂

    • Andrew
      19/05/2017

      >>>What’s the going rate for a Faith healer?

      Seems like a nice little earner;
      http://www.realestate.com.au/news/abbotsford-house-set-to-break-suburb-record-by-over-3-million/

    • olga
      03/11/2017

      Sounds good. Pharmacists should be charging for any consultation be it 5 mins or longer. Free is costing the pharmacy in time and wages so it’s not free. Free blood pressure checks? Free form filling for Diabetes Australia? Old mentality when the mark up on prescriptions was sky high. Who’s living in the dark ages now? Why did Diabetes Australia stop dealing with consumers? It’s far cheaper to let the pharmacist living in the dark ages to do it for free.

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