The Pharmacy Board has published details about a Western Australian pharmacist reprimanded after unlawfully importing more than 2,000 ice pipes
As well as being a registered pharmacist, Hoang-Nam Nguyen was the director of a company which owned, and was involved in managing operations at, the Cloud 9 Smoke Shop & Accessories Store, in Highgate, Western Australia.
He was also the owner of the Edgewater Pharmacy, where he worked.
In 2014, Mr Nguyen imported a total of 2,001 ice pipes into Australia from China and India, resulting in him being charged with three counts of unlawfully importing prohibited imports, contrary to the Customs Act 1901.
The conduct concerned the delivery of three consignments of parcels to Mr Nguyen, the first of which was addressed to him at his pharmacy. This parcel, sent from India, contained 1,000 ice pipes, which were labelled “SWEET PUFF”.
The documentation attached to the consignment of the First Parcel described the contents as “borosilicate glass pipes 14cm” with a value of AU$3,195.27.
The second parcels came in one consignment from China, and were intercepted by Customs.
These were addressed to Mr Nguyen, also at the pharmacy, and each contained 250 ice pipes individually wrapped in bubble wrap, each labelled “SWEET PUFF Holland”.
The documentation attached to the consignment of the Second Parcels described the contents of the parcels as “Glass container samples” with a value of US$40.
The third parcels were sent from China, again in a consignment of two, again addressed to Mr Nguyen at the Edgewater pharmacy.
One contained 250 ice pipes and the other 251, and again, these were labelled “SWEET PUFF Holland” and described as “Glass container samples,” this time with a value of US$20.
On 19 November 2014, Mr Nguyen was charged with three counts of unlawfully importing prohibited imports, namely ice pipes, on the three occasions.
In 2016, Mr Nguyen was convicted of the charges in the Magistrates Court of WA and ordered to pay a $60,000 fine.
Based on Mr Nguyen’s conduct, the Pharmacy Board of Australia referred the matter to the State Administrative Tribunal of Western Australia.
The Board and Mr Nguyen agreed the terms on which the matter could be settled.
The Tribunal noted several mitigating factors, including that the pharmacist admitted responsibility for his conduct, and that he had co-operated with the Board’s investigation into his conduct.
“The Respondent’s admission of wrong-doing evidences his remorse and contrition,” the Tribunal noted.
“The Respondent is currently serving a period of two years imprisonment for unrelated offences. As a consequence his financial position has been gravely diminished, and his future prospects are bleak.”
Mr Nguyen admitted that his conduct constituted professional misconduct and was reprimanded and disqualified from re-applying for registration as a pharmacist for six months.
Mr Nguyen was also ordered to pay $1,000 towards the Board’s costs of the Tribunal proceedings.