Following a conviction for stealing drugs including oxycodone and Ritalin, and on-selling diazepam to a man who later took his own life, a pharmacist is now facing a re-started Ahpra investigation
The ABC has reported on the case of Adam Chinotti, who has been convicted in the Derby Magistrate’s Court for stealing as a servant while working at a pharmacy.
Police had gone to Mr Chinotti’s home in 2020 to execute a search warrant, and found medicines including Ritalin, different brands of oxycodone, Alodorm Neopram and Zofran.
In the course of their investigation, detectives from Broome and Derby found that the pharmacist had sold 60 tablets of Diazepam to a Jordan Sherwood.
Mr Sherwood took all the Diazepam and, while under the influence of the medication, lost his life to suicide.
Mr Chinotti’s legal representative, Matthew Blackburn, told the Derby Magistrate’s Court that the pharmacist had become reliant on some prescription medicines after he was seriously injured in a 2009 motor vehicle accident.
But he said that when it came to selling the Diazepam to Mr Sherwood, the pharmacist had been motivated by personal gain.
He had met Mr Sherwood through friends in Broome and been offered a “significant” sum to supply the drug to him.
“He simply saw the dollar signs and greed just overtook him,” Mr Blackburn told the Court.
“He’s deeply remorseful for committing this particular act.”
Magistrate Elizabeth Wood said that the supply of Diazepam to Mr Sherwood had been a “serious offence in itself” and that Mr Sherwood’s death was not an outcome which could necessarily have been predicted.
While Mr Chinotti was not charged over Mr Sherwood’s death, Mr Sherwood’s distraught parents told the ABC’s Hannah Barry that the pharmacist should be barred from the profession permanently.
“He’s a professional worker, he knows what drugs do what damage if taken in large amounts,” said his mother, Kylie Sherwood.
“He should know supplying so many Valium, something’s going to happen.”
The couple are now planning to support changes in pharmacy which could see mental health problems identified earlier in patients, as part of a push to improve mental health services in the Kimberley area.
Mr Chinotti was handed a nine-month sentence for the stealing as a servant charge and a charge of possessing unlicensed firearms.
The sentence was suspended for 12 months.
Mr Chinotti was also fined $500.
However he now faces a renewed investigation by pharmacy regulators.
A spokesperson for Ahpra and the National Boards confirmed to the AJP that Adam Chinotti’s registration is currently suspended, “which means that he can’t practice as a pharmacist anywhere in Australia”.
“The suspension is the result of immediate action by the Board to protect the public while the criminal matter concluded,” they said.
“We placed the Ahpra investigation on hold pending the conclusion of the criminal matter. This is because criminal matters take precedence over regulatory matters.
“Now that the criminal case has concluded, we will consider the decision and restart the Ahpra investigation.
“We can’t comment further on this matter at this time.”