Struck off over professional misconduct

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A pharmacist who claimed the Pharmacy Board had a personal vendetta to cause him ‘character assassination on a world scale’ has had his registration cancelled

Emson Nyoni, who owned and operated a rural pharmacy in Western Australia between 2003 and 2014, has been reprimanded and struck off the register for breaching conditions on his practice.

In January 2013, Mr Nyoni was convicted in the Magistrates Court in Merredin of six offences under the Poisons Act, including failure to maintain a register of drugs of addiction and failure to ensure that the pharmacy’s drug safe was locked at all times.

He was ultimately fined $10,000 in respect of his convictions.

Following this, the Department of Health twice wrote to Mr Nyoni advising him that as of May 2013, his authority to manufacture, possess, use, sell or supply Schedule 8 drugs was revoked.

However it was found that the pharmacist continued supplying Schedule 8 drugs at the pharmacy in breach of the conditions – on 131 occasions between 24 May 2013 and 17 April 2014, and on 38 occasions between 26 November 2013 and 17 April 2014.

The pharmacist admitted supplying Schedule 8 drugs during this period but claimed the conditions did not apply as he had challenged the decision by filing an interlocutory application in the Federal Court – which was dismissed soon after in June 2013.

Due to this court challenge he claimed the conditions were therefore “rendered nugatory”, effectively preserving the status quo.

However the State Administrative Tribunal of WA found that the pharmacist had engaged in professional misconduct by breaching the Schedule 8 revocation and conditions, “intentionally in circumstances where he knew that there was no ‘stay’ or any other such legal mechanism which rendered them ‘nugatory’ and he did so on a multitude of occasions”.

In a decision on penalties delivered this month, Mr Nyoni was reprimanded and had his registration cancelled. He is unable to apply for reregistration for at least two years.

“In the tribunal’s view Mr Nyoni has shown no insight or acknowledgement into his misconduct,” the decision reads.

“Indeed the tribunal in [the December 2018 decision] found that Mr Nyoni’s conduct demonstrated a flagrant disregard for the obligations which are imposed on pharmacists by legislation designed to protect the public.”

The tribunal said it was difficult to know whether Mr Nyoni had any insight or contrition, as despite having the opportunity to participate in the hearing in regards to orders and penalties, he had chosen not to do so.

“Indeed it is clear to the tribunal that Mr Nyoni did nothing but try to excuse his behaviour rather than take ownership of it, including by contending that the actions taken against him by the [Pharmacy] Board constituted some sort of personal vendetta to ‘cause irreparable harm and character assassination on a world scale’ to Mr Nyoni,” it said.

The tribunal found he is “permanently or indefinitely unfit for the practice of pharmacy”, pointing to “deliberate and intentional” behaviour that occurred over an extensive period of time despite him being informed on a number of occasions that the behaviour ought to cease.

Submissions in relation to costs are to be written and served by the parties.

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