SA pharmacist reprimand
AN ADELAIDE pharmacist has been formally sanctioned for inappropriate dispensing of S8 drugs, with his actions permitting the diversion of oxycodone within the pharmacy.
The South Australian Health Practitioners Tribunal this week released the reasons for the decision following a hearing which took place on 11 Oct 2018.
The alleged dispensing conduct occurred between Oct 2014 and May 2015, with a formal complaint saying the pharmacist provided oxycodone from the pharmacy safe to a staff member packing Webster packs for aged care home clients without a valid prescription from a particular patient’s doctor.
Despite the amount of oxycodone provided substantially exceeding that patient’s monthly requirements, the pharmacist is also alleged to have continued to supply the staff member with the S8 medication, did not always make timely entries in the drug of dependence register, and failed to ensure that once packed into Webster packs the oxycodone was returned to the pharmacy safe.
The Tribunal said the dispensing conduct was sustained and serious, and involved failures across a range of pharmacy practice including not checking prescribing history; taking steps to dispense without a prescription; failing to take precautions to supervise a technician; failure to record S8 drugs in the register; and failure to follow up on securing medications.
At the time of the alleged conduct the pharmacist was aged 32, having first been registered in 2010, and his counsel in the proceedings presented evidence that the pharmacy had a practice of dispensing S8 medications on a “script owing” basis.
Following the notification the pharmacist lost his job, but had since undertaken relevant education at his own initiative and cost, with the issue having taken a significant toll on his mental health.
The Tribunal unanimously found the conduct constituted professional misconduct, and ruled that a reprimand needed to be imposed for several reasons, including that it “puts other practitioners on notice that such a departure from professional standards will not be tolerated”.
Several conditions were also imposed on the pharmacist’s registration, including that he only practise at his current place of employment, work under direct supervision when working on any S8 medication, be subject to quarterly reporting and undertake mentoring and specified education.
Pharmacy Daily has chosen not to name the reprimanded pharmacist.