30 Aug 2016
A pharmacist convicted of drug trafficking has been disqualified by a tribunal from applying for registration for three years.
In July 2016, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) found that Ali Kozanoglu had engaged in professional misconduct and disqualified him from applying for registration as a registered pharmacist for three years from 3 August 2016. He was also reprimanded by the tribunal.
In March 2015, Mr Kozanoglu was convicted in the County Court of Victoria of two counts of trafficking a drug of dependence, namely dextromethorphan, between 1 June 2010 and 23 June 2011. He was convicted and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment. All but nine months of the jail term was suspended on the basis that Mr Kozanoglu be of good behaviour for three years.
The Pharmacy Board of Australia (the Board) referred allegations concerning Mr Kozanoglu to the tribunal in February 2016. The Board alleged that he had engaged in professional misconduct by trafficking a drug of dependence and subsequently receiving criminal convictions for this conduct.
The Board also refused Mr Kozanoglu’s application for renewal of general registration as a pharmacist. In May 2016, Mr Kozanoglu filed an application with the tribunal for review of the Board’s decision. However, he abandoned that application for review a month later.
The tribunal found that Mr Kozanoglu had engaged in professional misconduct on the basis that his conduct leading to his convictions, and the convictions in themselves, amounted to conduct substantially below the standard reasonably expected of a registered health practitioner of an equivalent level of training or experience.
In making that finding, the tribunal observed that, ‘to say (Kozanoglu’s) conduct, as found by a jury, leading to conviction, was substantially below the expected standard is an understatement’.
The tribunal went on to state that:
‘The fundamental obligation of a pharmacist is to ensure the health and wellbeing of their patient(s). This is achieved by providing appropriate high-quality treatment including appropriate provision of medicine(s), as well as safeguarding people from inappropriate treatment and medication use. Mr Kozanoglu betrayed that obligation.’
In imposing the three-year disqualification period, the tribunal noted that a substantial disqualification period was required in order to ‘send a message of deterrence to pharmacists and to uphold the profession’s reputation’.
The tribunal also affirmed the Board's decision to refuse Mr Kozanoglu’s application for renewal of his registration noting the application for review had been abandoned.
The reasons for the tribunal’s decision are published on the AustLII website.