Pharmacy Board of Australia - Pharmacist reprimanded and fined for stealing and supplying a prescription
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Pharmacist reprimanded and fined for stealing and supplying a prescription

30 Dec 2019

The Western Australian State Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) has reprimanded, fined and placed conditions on a pharmacist’s registration for stealing and unlawfully supplying a prescription, and for failing to declare on a renewal application for registration that there had been changes to his criminal history.

Mr Huynh Kim Dat Ngo held provisional registration as a pharmacist and was subject to registration requirements including that he would only practise with supervision by a Board approved supervisor or delegate at an approved site. He practised as an intern pharmacist in Western Australia.

In November 2016, Mr Ngo stole a package containing 28 tablets of the anti-depressant Escitalopram to provide to a female friend who was a minor. He did not record the Escitalopram on the pharmacy dispensing system, failed to obtain authorisation from a qualified pharmacist and did not follow the medicine dispensing process. Mr Ngo failed to appropriately label the package as it did not contain the medicine’s name, the medicine’s strength or the suggested dosage on it.

Mr Ngo then supplied the medication to his female friend. On 18 November 2016 Mr Ngo’s female friend, to whom he had supplied the Escitalopram, self-administered an overdose of 10 tablets. She was taken to hospital and later released that day.

In February 2017 Mr Ngo plead guilty and was charged with stealing, unlawfully supplying poisons and leaving poisons unlabelled pursuant to the Criminal Code and Poisons Act 1964.

Mr Ngo failed to notify the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) of the charges within seven days, as required under the National Law.

In March 2017 Mr Ngo submitted an application for renewal of his provisional registration with Ahpra in which he failed to notify or declare that there had been changes to his criminal history in Australia.

On 22 November 2018 the Pharmacy Board of Australia (the Board) referred Mr Ngo to the tribunal for professional misconduct.

On 24 October 2019 the tribunal found that Mr Ngo had behaved in a way that constitutes professional misconduct by his conduct and the related criminal convictions, including failing to safely dispense medication, failing to safely label the medication and failing to provide a good pharmacy service.

The tribunal also found Mr Ngo did not follow the Pharmacy Board of Australia Registration Standard: Criminal History, by failing to notify Ahpra of the criminal charges within seven days of being charged and making a false declaration regarding his criminal history in his renewal application.

The tribunal reprimanded Mr Ngo, placed conditions on his registration and fined him $1,550.

He must complete a board-approved program of education on appropriate dispensing, ethical decision making and record keeping, and the education must be completed within six months of it being approved by the Board.

The conditions also require Mr Ngo to be mentored by another registered health practitioner in relation to appropriate dispensing, ethical decision making and record keeping. The mentoring comprises a minimum of eight weekly sessions. Mr Ngo must also provide a report to the Board reflecting on the issues that gave rise to the conditions and how he has incorporated the lessons learnt into his practice.

The full decision is published on the eCourts website.

Page reviewed 30/12/2019