A NSW pharmacist has been banned from practising for at least three years for misappropriating and consuming thousands of Endone, alprazolam and Duromine tablets
At the time of the conduct between 2014 and 2015, the respondent was working as the pharmacist in charge at two pharmacies owned by the same proprietor.
He had previously completed his intern year at one of these pharmacies, after first becoming registered in 2013.
In March 2015, the proprietor notified the Pharmaceutical Services Unit (PSU) of missing Schedule 8 drugs and a missing drug register, and at this same time the pharmacist’s employment was ceased.
The PSU confirmed large quantities of drugs had gone missing in the period from May 2014 to April 2015, and erroneous entries had been made in the existing drug register.
In May 2015, the pharmacist met with the PSU and admitted to misappropriating and consuming large quantities of drugs and making false entries in the drug register to conceal his actions.
These misappropriated drugs amounted to over 10,000 Endone tablets, 2250 alprazolam tablets, and 780 Duromine tablets over a 12-month period.
He admitted to consuming what the tribunal described as “very significant quantities of drugs” while working six days per week.
These admissions led “to the inescapable conclusion that he was affected by drugs during the performance of his professional duties,” the tribunal found.
“Such conduct placed the patients of those pharmacies at serious risk of harm over a significant period.
“While this conduct was apparently in the service of an escalating addiction, it nevertheless involved a breach of trust and calculated course of conduct to avoid detection,” found the tribunal.
It found a lack of evidence that he would not pose a risk to the safety of patients if he were to return to practise in the near future.
Since mid-2015, the practitioner has no longer been working in pharmacy – he started a business in an alternate field and also allowed his registration to lapse in this time.
The tribunal ruled that due to “the gravity of the misconduct”, the pharmacist – had he still been registered – should have his registration cancelled and be disqualified from registration for at least three years from 10 December 2018.
He must also pay costs to the Health Care Complaints Commission.
To be able to successfully reapply for registration in the future, the practitioner will need to demonstrate insight and prove fitness to practise.