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.