Tribunal reprimands former pharmacist, finds unprofessional conduct

02 Mar 2016

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) has reprimanded a former pharmacist and found he engaged in unprofessional conduct.

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) has reprimanded a former pharmacist and found he engaged in unprofessional conduct for inappropriately dispensing pseudoephedrine (PSE), a drug which is well known to pharmacists for its potential for misuse and abuse.

The Pharmacy Board of Australia (Board) referred Mr Robert Donald Louis, a formerly registered pharmacist, to QCAT regarding concerns about his practice between March 2009 and May 2011, when he worked part-time at the Nerang Day and Night Pharmacy (Pharmacy).

The Board alleged that Mr Louis had engaged in professional misconduct by selling PSE:

  • in breach of section 273A of the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996 (Regulation), which means that when a pharmacy adopts a quality standard, a pharmacist must not sell a schedule 2 or 3 poison unless the sale complies with the quality standard. PSE is a schedule 3, Pharmacist Only, poison. Its potential for misuse and abuse is well known to pharmacists. The pharmacy adopted a quality standard and Mr Louis did not comply with the standard,
  • in breach of section 285A of the Regulation, which means that a person who sells PSE must, at the time of the making the sale, record particulars for the sale as an electronic record that is accessible online by both the Chief Executive, Queensland Health, and the Commissioner of Police, and
  • in the absence of a therapeutic need in breach of section 277 of the Regulation and contrary to the terms of his endorsements under section 257 of the Regulation. A pharmacist must not sell PSE unless they are reasonably satisfied that the purchaser has a therapeutic need.

In May 2011 Queensland Health had audited and analysed the pharmacy’s dispensing data about PSE products. In December 2011, Queensland Health suspended for 12 months Mr Louis’ endorsement for all drugs and poisons with PSE as the active ingredient and advised AHPRA.

In November 2012, the Board imposed conditions on Mr Louis’ registration, all of which he complied with except for completing an oral legislation assessment. In December 2013, Mr Louis surrendered his pharmacy registration, having retired from practice.

Mr Louis conceded that the Board had proven the allegations and the parties jointly proposed a sanction which was accepted by the tribunal. QCAT found that Mr Louis had engaged in unprofessional conduct, reprimanded him and ordered him to pay the Board’s legal costs.

The QCAT decision is published on Austlii

Page reviewed 2/03/2016