Pharmacist escapes jail time

tribunal hearing legal case

A WA pharmacy owner has been convicted, fined and reprimanded for selling a prohibited drug to a man known to police

A WA pharmacist and co-owner of four pharmacies in Kargoorlie, WA, has admitted to engaging in professional misconduct by taking testosterone from one of his pharmacies and selling it to a man for $500 in 2015.

This man was known to WA police.

The pharmacist was charged with selling a prohibited drug to another person under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1981 – with a person convicted of this offence liable to a fine of up to $100,000 or 25 years’ imprisonment, or both.

However after entering a guilty plea at the District Court of WA in late 2017, the pharmacist was convicted and fined $2,500.

The District Court found that the pharmacist was at low risk of re-offending, with the incident at the “bottom of the range of seriousness of offences involving the sale or supply of prohibited drugs”.

At a 2018 disciplinary hearing before the State Administrative Tribunal (WA), the pharmacist submitted that the offence had been a one-off incident, and that he took “full responsibility” for his action in entering a plea of guilty.

He told the tribunal he had taken the testosterone home with the intent of using it on himself.

The tribunal noted that there were “extensive mitigating factors” in the case, including that the pharmacist was under significant personal stress at the time of the incident.

He had no prior disciplinary or criminal history at the time he committed the offence, and the tribunal accepted that the pharmacist had demonstrated remorse for and insight into his conduct.

The tribunal also noted that he had been suspended by the Pharmacy Board of Australia for approximately 10 weeks in 2016 and had complied with strict conditions imposed on his registration for approximately two years.

Meanwhile the pharmacist admitted that he had behaved a way that constituted professional misconduct through his conviction, including by failing to comply with the code of conduct for pharmacists, and by failing to notify the Pharmacy Board that he had been charged within seven days of learning about the charge.

The tribunal reprimanded the pharmacist and ordered him to pay $3,000 towards the Pharmacy Board’s costs of the proceedings.

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  1. pagophilus

    So selling a scheduled drug other than on a prescription is at the bottom end of offences? Well, maybe it is, but it goes against a core reason of our existence as the gatekeepers of legal drugs in society. Weak courts, weak punishments, no deterrent.

  2. Gavin Mingay

    “the pharmacist was under significant personal stress at the time of the incident”

    So we can all just go out and commit crime and use our job as an excuse??

    and “He told the tribunal he had taken the testosterone home with the intent of using it on himself” oh well then, that makes it ok…

  3. Andrew Tooms

    The pharmacist in question has been punished over a long period by the District Court, the Board and the SAT for his transgressions against the law and his profession. Sentencing is a difficult art, and courts and the SAT take into consideration a multitude of facts before deciding what to do. They more often than not get it about right. While personal stress is not an excuse for a criminal act, it does go some way to explaining why a person would do something totally against their training, and the SAT was entitled to take it into account. Given all the facts, we might well have come to the same conclusion.

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