18 Apr 2019
A New South Wales Court has convicted and fined a man for holding himself out as a registered pharmacist following charges laid by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).
At sentencing today, Mr Michael Simon was fined $10,000 and ordered to pay the AHPRA’s legal costs of $4,000.
Mr Simon has never held registration under the National Law1 and is not eligible to be registered as a pharmacist.
Mr Simon was alleged to have worked as a pharmacist between 25 and 29 June 2018 at a family owned pharmacy in Randwick. It was alleged that he had dispensed scheduled medications on numerous occasions on 25, 27, 28 and 29 June 2018 at the pharmacy.
The conduct was identified on 29 June 2018, when an Inspector with the Pharmacy Council of New South Wales conducted a routine inspection of the Pharmacy. On this date, the Council Inspector observed a sign near the dispensary stating, ‘Pharmacist in Charge, Michael George Simon’. Mr Simon claimed to be the registered pharmacist on duty.
As the Council Inspector could not find registration details for Mr Simon’s registration on the public register of practitioners maintained by AHPRA, and the Inspector ordered the pharmacy to be closed. The Council then referred the matter to AHPRA.
As a result, on 19 December 2018, AHPRA charged Mr Simon with four counts of unlawfully holding himself out as a registered pharmacist.
AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher said the court outcome demonstrated AHPRA’s work to protect health consumers across Australia from those who are falsely claiming to be registered health practitioners.
‘Claiming to be registered as a pharmacist, when you’re not violates the trust of patients and the community,’ Mr Fletcher said.
'It creates a significant risk to the health and safety of the public and AHPRA will take all the necessary steps to protect Australia’s health consumers against such unscrupulous claims.’
Pharmacy Board of Australia Chair Mr Brett Simmonds said today’s conviction sends a strong message to the community about the requirements of registration.
‘Together with AHPRA, the Council and the Board will continue working collaboratively to protect the public by taking action against anyone who claims to be a registered pharmacist when they are not,’ Mr Simmonds said.
Joyce Cooper, President of Pharmacy Council of NSW added, ‘Protection of the health and safety of the public is maintained by ensuring that only pharmacists who are suitably trained and qualified to practise in a competent and ethical manner are registered. Holding out as a pharmacist when not qualified to do so is unacceptable to all.’
Anyone with concerns about whether an individual holds registration with a national health profession board can check the register of practitioners maintained by AHPRA online (www.ahpra.gov.au) or contact AHPRA on 1300 419 495.