“King of Pharmacists” gets 31-year suspension

A Quebec pharmacist has had his licence to practice suspended for 31 years and 9 months following charges of drug abuse

Jonathan-Yan Perreault, 38, got the nickname thanks to his empire of 40 stores across the Canadian state of Quebec, bought over seven years, mostly with an associate.

According to the Journal de Montreal, his business ventures supported a lifestyle that included the purchase of a CAD$3.4 million (AUD$3,395,000) mansion previously belonging to a star hockey player.

But in March this year, Mr Perreault pleaded guilty to a range of charges adding up to 60 counts, including fraud, drug use and sexual harassment.

The Quebec Order of Pharmacists released an 82-page document in which it detailed the charges against Mr Perreault, going back as far as 2005 when he allegedly falsified his internship report.

The charges included making CAD$174,000 (AUD$173,769) worth of fraudulent claims to the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (which administers public health and prescription drug insurance plans and remunerates health professionals).

More charges against him included sexual harassment; practising pharmacy under the influence of psychotropic drugs; making threats; selling expired medicines; dispensing painkillers without a prescription; and producing false prescriptions.

Mr Perreault was first investigated in 2014, when the Order of Pharmacists unearthed large stockpiles of expired drugs and incorrectly labelled medicines. The investigator learned he had refunded CAD$174,350 that had been overcharged at the RAMQ.

In 2016 he was arrested twice for driving while impaired, the first time following an accident.

CBC Canada reported in June 2016, when the Order of Pharmacists sought an emergency suspension of Mr Perreault’s pharmacy license, that his wife said he was addicted to antidepressants and oxycodone and was in a “fragile” state.

Now, the Quebec Order of Pharmacists has handed down one of the longest suspensions it has ever made: Mr Perreault will not be able to practise pharmacy until he is at least 70 years old.

He was also ordered to pay fines of CAD$142,000.

The Order said that the alleged acts “lie at the very heart of the practice of the profession”.

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