Pharmacist disqualified from reapplying for registration for professional misconduct

14 Mar 2018

A registered pharmacist has been reprimanded and disqualified from reapplying for registration for behaving in a way that constitutes professional misconduct.

The Pharmacy Board of Australia (the Board) referred Mr Adam Christie to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) on 26 October 2015, following a complaint about the pharmacist’s behaviour from his employer in mid-2013.

Mr Christie became a registered pharmacist in 2004. Except for a brief period in 2006, he maintained his registration until January 2014, when his registration lapsed, which meant he was no longer able to practise the profession.

The conduct first came to light after Mr Christie’s employer found drugs in his car and notified the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

The alleged professional misconduct related to the acquisition of various controlled, restricted and addictive drugs on a number of occasions. This included obtaining them through deceit from the pharmacy where was employed, and covering this up in a number of ways, including the creation of fictitious transactions to explain the disappearance of the drugs.

Mr Christie promptly ‘self-reported’ his conduct to AHPRA, after his conduct had already been reported by his employer.

In October 2014, Mr Christie pleaded guilty in the Magistrates Court to two charges of stealing as a servant and possession of dangerous drugs. He was ordered to serve two years’ probation with no conviction recorded.

Mr Christie admitted the Board’s allegations and conceded that his conduct was contrary to the Code of Conduct for pharmacists, was substantially below the standard reasonably expected of a registered pharmacist, and that it constituted professional misconduct. These admissions and concessions were accepted by the tribunal.

The tribunal concluded that Mr Christie’s substance abuse and illegal behaviour, involving breach of trust as an employee and the misuse of drugs, are so interconnected with his work as a pharmacist that it must be characterised as professional misconduct and that a finding should be made that he is not a fit and proper person to hold registration.

In its findings the tribunal had regard to the following mitigating factors:

  • there was prompt ‘self-notification’ of the conduct by the practitioner
  • he voluntarily attended his general practitioner and psychiatrist and undertook a treatment program
  • his conduct did not directly affect any patient or client of the pharmacy
  • he co-operated with the Board from an early stage and made appropriate admissions, and
  • he retrained himself for a new profession so as to remove himself from situations which give rise to a relapse.

The tribunal reprimanded Mr Christie and disqualified him from re-applying for registration as a pharmacist for a period of three years from the date of the order. He was also ordered to pay the Board’s costs of $12,000.

A non-publication order was also sought by Mr Christie with respect to the proceedings, contending that his new career may be jeopardised if details of his conduct were published. This was declined by the tribunal.

The tribunal’s decision is published on its website.

 
 
Page reviewed 14/03/2018