Pharmacist reprimanded after altering own scripts

A pharmacist has been disqualified from practising after compounding products for other pharmacies without any authority to do so, plus self-dispensing a variety of drugs without scripts

The pharmacist had self-dispensed erectile dysfunction, codeine, a benzodiazepine and weight loss medicines on altered scripts, as well as providing a compounded dexamphetamine preparation without a script.

WA’s State Administrative Tribunal heard that the man was the owner and pharmacist in charge of a suburban Perth pharmacy when a medical practitioner gave him a script for 30 phentermine 30mg capsules, with no repeats.

The pharmacist “made hand-written alterations to the original prescription to include reference to two additional Repeats, without authority from the prescribing medical practitioner or any other lawful authority,” the Tribunal noted.

He dispensed a total of 90 phentermine 30mg capsules to himself using the altered prescription—and of those 90 capsules, 60 were dispensed without a valid script or other lawful authority.

The original 30 capsules were dispensed in June 2015, with the other 60 in August that year.

The Tribunal heard that in December 2015 and September 2016, the pharmacist was given valid scripts for 28 Cialis 5mg tablets by a medical practitioner.

Each of these scripts allowed for two repeats, for a total of 168 tablets.

But the pharmacist dispensed a total of 238 of the tablets to himself using those scripts: 70 tablets being dispensed without a valid script or lawful authority. These incidents took place between December 2015 and December 2016.

On one date in December – the same date he dispensed the first pack of 28 Cialis 5mg tablets – the pharmacist dispensed 20 ondansetron 8mg wafers to himself, without a valid script or authority.

On the same date he dispensed to himself six Priligy 30mg tablets, again with no valid script or authority – and he did this twice more, in February and May 2016.

On the same date in December 2015, the inappropriate self-dispensing without a script or authority continued, as the pharmacist provided himself with 25 prochlorperazine mesylate 5mg tablets and 20 Prodeine Forte 30mg/500mg tablets, as well as 25 temazepam 10mg tablets.

Three days later, he continued the self-dispensing without a valid script or authority, with 30 Nexium 40mg tablets.

In 2016, the behaviour continued, as the pharmacist provided himself with 28 Naprosyn SR 1gm tablets, four Solone 25mg tablets, and five Zithromax 50mg tablets in one date that May; and 30 paroxetine HCl 20mg tablets late in the month.

The Tribunal also heard that in 2015 and 2016, the pharmacist dispensed or supplied S8s to patients without a valid script.

This included dispensing 15mg dexamphetamine in a compound that also consisted of 40mg frusemide and Methocel to a person identified only as Patient B, in March 2016.

He had compounded this medication himself without the benefit of having details about the stability or formulation of the modified product, and without communicating with any prescriber or the patient about the compounded end product.

In or around 13 March 2017, the pharmacist imported S4 therapeutic goods including hormonal therapies from China without authorisation to do so – and not from their respective sponsors listed on the ARTG.

These included:

  • a silver packet which contained tadalafil weighing 115 grams gross;
  • a silver packet which contained clomiphene citrate weighing 117 grams gross;
  • a silver packet which contained tamoxifen weighing 113 grams gross; and
  • a silver packet which contained testosterone weighing 113 grams gross.

After importing the tadalafil, he compounded it and dispensed it to himself without a script or other lawful authority.

He also compounded and supplied phentermine to other pharmacies – and again, this compounding was not in response to a valid script.

The pharmacist did not hold a manufacturing license issued by the TGA, or a wholesale and supply license issued by the Health Department.

He supplied 30 capsules of phentermine 30mg to three pharmacies, between September 2016 and February 2017.

In June 2017, the Pharmacy Board decided to take immediate action to impose conditions on the pharmacist’s registration.

These prevented him from possessing, supplying, administering, handling, dispensing, accessing or checking any substance listed in any and all schedules of the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons.

The pharmacist failed to renew his registration, and in January 2019 ceased to be a registered health practitioner.

The pharmacist and the Board reached an agreement regarding the behaviour, and the Board accepted that he had demonstrated insight and remorse.

The Tribunal stated that the former pharmacist had behaved in a way that constituted professional misconduct, and reprimanded him.

He was disqualified from applying for registration as a health practitioner for three years, and ordered to pay the Board’s costs of $5,000.

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