Pharmacist pleads guilty to illicit drug supply

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A Sydney pharmacist faces potential jail time after supplying thousands of Gardasil 9 vaccines that were exported under a false declaration to Hong Kong

Pharmacist Katherine (Kathy) Gong, 34, has pleaded guilty in Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney on Wednesday to three counts of prohibition on wholesale supply of certain substances.

Ms Gong, who is the owner of the Harmony Pharmacy and Wellness Clinic located in Mosman on Sydney’s north shore, was accused of supplying more than 2,400 Gardasil 9 ‘injections’ to a male associate, who then exported the substance under a false declaration to Hong Kong.

Her co-accused has been charged with nine counts of prohibition on wholesale supply of certain substances.

The estimated retail value of the drugs is AUD$500,000 in Australia and more than AUD$600,000 in Hong Kong, as the vaccine is currently experiencing shortages in the region.

The Gardasil 9 vaccine is used for the prevention of cervical cancer and appears on the Schedule 4 of the Poisons List of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989.

Ms Gong has had her pharmacist registration suspended since she was charged in October, when investigators referred her to AHPRA.

The charges were laid following the joint agency investigation into importation and supply of prohibited drugs by the Australian Federal Police (AFP), NSW Police Force (NSWPF) Organised Crime Squad, Australian Border Force (ABF), Department of Home Affairs (DHA), NSW Crime Commission (NSWCC) and Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC).

Under the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966, Ms Gong faces potential jail time.

She will be sentenced next Wednesday, 28 November.

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