Pharmacist struck off for good after murdering his wife; pharmacist claims discrimination over substance abuse disorder; heart checks to roll out across England
Middlesborough, England: A pharmacist who was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of murdering his wife has been struck off the register.
A fitness to practice committee of the General Pharmaceutical Council has directed that the entry of Mitesh Patel in the Register of Pharmacists be removed.
In December 2018, Mr Patel – who with his wife, pharmacist Jessica Patel, had owned the Roman Road pharmacy in Middlesborough – was handed a life sentence for her murder.
He had repeatedly been unfaithful to her with men, and had planned to leave the UK for Australia, where his lover, a doctor, had emigrated.
He injected Ms Patel with insulin and strangled her, then claimed that she had been attacked by a burglar. At his trial, a jury returned a unanimous verdict of guilty.
Ms Patel was remembered by her family as “beautiful both on the inside and out” and customers of the pharmacy told local media that she knew them by name.
“In the Committee’s view the Registrant had shown himself to be completely unworthy of registration as a pharmacist,” the Committee said in its decision on Mr Patel’s registration. “His behaviour had been utterly incompatible with the standards of the profession of pharmacy.
“In the Committee’s view only removal of his name from the Register would meet the need to maintain professional standards and maintain public confidence in the profession and the Council as its regulator.”
British Columbia, Canada: An unidentified pharmacist will assert to the province’s Human Rights Tribunal that restrictions on opioid replacement therapy for practising health professionals are discriminatory, reports CBC Canada.
The pharmacist, who remains unidentified, was permitted to return to work after he had undergone a voluntary suspension.
This suspension was due to an “addiction-related disability” and subsequent heroin reliance which cost him roughly CAD$1300 (AUD$1440) each week.
Two years ago, he sought leave to return to work as a pharmacist, saying he wanted to be able to use suboxone and be permitted to work, including dealing with high-risk drugs. He said that suboxone helped him live a normal life.
One addiction specialist decided in 2017 that he was unfit to work as a pharmacist while taking suboxone, and recommended he take up a 12-step program. As an atheist, the pharmacist objected to the latter.
The first doctor had subjected him to stigma and asked him if working as a pharmacist would make him feel like he was a “kid in a candy store,” the pharmacist says.
A second assessment saw the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia clear him to work.
However the pharmacist says that he was discriminated against due to mental disability, as well as discrimination based on religion, due to the recommendation that he undertake the 12-step program.
While the latter claim was dismissed, a hearing has now been ordered into the discrimination due to mental disability claim.
England, UK: A pharmacy heart checkup program could be rolled out to every pharmacy in England, according to the BBC.
Experts suggest that the program – which would see patients receive blood pressure and cholesterol tests, as well as having conditions such as atrial fibrillation identified – could prevent up to 150,000 strokes and heart attacks over the next 10 years.
Some pharmacies have already been offering such a service as part of a pilot project.
According to NHS national medical director Prof Stephen Powis, “rapid detection of killer conditions through High Street heart checks will be a game-changer”.