Pharmacy council prosecutes owner of two pharmacies


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The pharmacy owner was convicted and fined for two offences related to business obligations

The Pharmacy Council of New South Wales recently prosecuted the owner of two pharmacy businesses for operating a pharmacy business in premises not approved by the Council, and for operating a pharmacy business in the absence of a pharmacist.

The owner pled guilty on both counts and was sentenced at the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney.

Having regard to the agreed facts, Magistrate Carolyn Huntsman found the offences to be at the mid-range of objective seriousness.

She made orders for convictions to be recorded on the pharmacy owner’s criminal record on both charges and issued a fine of $8,500.

During sentencing, Magistrate Huntsman noted that pharmacists are in positions of trust and provide services to vulnerable people.

The NSW Pharmacy Council said her remarks served as a valuable reminder to all financial interest holders about the seriousness of their obligations.

“Financial interest holders should be aware of their obligations under the National Law. Each time an offence of this nature occurs, patients’ health and safety is put at risk,” said the Council in its recent announcement of the case.

“Legislation in Australia restricts the ownership of pharmacy businesses to pharmacists. In New South Wales, those restrictions and concurrent obligations are found in Schedule 5F of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (NSW).

“Pharmacists should be aware that under the National Law, unsatisfactory professional conduct includes failures to observe obligations relating to the operation of pharmacy businesses.”

Current and prospective financial interest holders are reminded to familiarise themselves with the Pharmacy Board of Australia’s Guidelines for proprietor pharmacists.

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5 Comments

  1. Karalyn Huxhagen
    25/11/2020

    When reviewing AHPRA cases I am deeply concerned that we are seeing pharmacists before us from the same group of owners. The employee pharmacists are before us for professional misconduct which has been brought on by a series of issues-bullying, unreakistic KPIs and hours worked, lack of mentoring and support mechanisms leading to very bad decisions being made.

    It makes me very sad and angry as the case presented is against the pharmacist who has performed the unprofessional conduct and has a complaint made against them. As we are working under National Law regulations and within the various Acts of each state there is no way that we can bring the true cause of the problem to be accounatble. In a tribunal setting or a hearing you can only work on the case and complaint at hand.

    when you see multiple complaint actions against young, unnurtured pharmacists from the same employer body you have to say there is a systemic issue in Australian Pharmacy accountability.

    It makes me very disheartened especially as some members of this employer group have influence in the industry. Workplace bullying, incredible long working hours, no regualr days off and unreachable KPIs are a norm within these groups and I am not talking about CW. Trying to maintain your health and ability to perform under such duress leads to bad decisions being made.

    Accountability for the cases that are brought to the Health Ombudsman and the Pharmacy Board is badly needed in Australian Pharmacy. I am not asking for another body that pokes and prods at ownership legislation and whether my phcy is 51 metres from the new CW. I am asking for accountablity of the owners business practices in regards to employees.

    • Andrew
      25/11/2020

      I suggest a $1k yearly levy on each Australian pharmacy to fund a group of roaming inspectors. Catch this behaviour before the bad things happen rather than reacting after the harm is done.

      Simple fix.

    • Tony Lee
      25/11/2020

      What group of owners/employer groups Karalyn?
      Am I missing something here or is the information sensitive? Are there standout miscreants?

    • Paul Sapardanis
      25/11/2020

      Thank-you for sharing this story with us Karalyn. With all the new responsibilities thrust on pharmacists are we monitoring workloads correctly? We used to just look at rx dispensing rates but is this an appropriate only measure? Vaccinations medschecks staged supply DAA’s staff management etc.

    • Peter Allen
      25/11/2020

      Thank you Karalyn.
      We do hope that the Boards and AHPRA have the background information on the first line employers. I know some insiders and believe they do know.

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