Pharmacy Board of Australia - Tribunal reprimands Perth pharmacist and suspends his registration for two years following conviction
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Tribunal reprimands Perth pharmacist and suspends his registration for two years following conviction

20 Jan 2021

A Perth pharmacist convicted of criminal offences relating to the possession of synthetic cannabinoids with the intent to sell or supply has been reprimanded by a tribunal and had his registration suspended for two years.

On 17 September 2018, pharmacist Hoang-Nam Nguyen pleaded guilty in a Perth court and was convicted of 17 counts of possession of prohibited drugs with intent to sell or supply. He was subsequently sentenced to two years’ jail.

A month earlier, Mr Nguyen had been convicted and fined $2,000 after pleading guilty to a charge of selling a poison (isobutyl nitrate).

The Pharmacy Board of Australia (the Board) referred Mr Nguyen to the State Administrative Tribunal of Western Australia (the tribunal) for professional misconduct and for failing to notify the Board about being charged with criminal offences within seven days, as required by section 130 of the National Law.1

At the time of the criminal offences, Mr Nguyen was the director of a company that owned Cloud 9 Smoke Shop and Accessories stores that operated from six different locations in Western Australia. He was also involved in managing operations and was responsible for deciding on stock to be sold at the stores.

Between February 2015 and March 2016, Western Australian Police conducted multiple searches of Cloud 9 stores and seized products that were found to contain synthetic cannabinoids.

On 24 February 2015, police conducted a search of Cloud 9 Highgate in Perth and seized a sample of a product labelled ’Jungle Juice Platinum’. Subsequent testing revealed the product contained isobutyl nitrite, a schedule 4 prescription only medicine. Isobutyl nitrite is also a poison for the purposes of the Poisons Act 1964 (WA) (Poisons Act).

Cloud 9 Highgate was not a pharmacy for the purposes of section 24 of the Poisons Act and Mr Nguyen did not hold a licence to sell isobutyl nitrite or any product containing isobutyl nitrite at Cloud 9 Highgate, under section 24 of the Act.

Following the first seizure by police, Mr Nguyen continued to allow the Cloud 9 Stores to sell products containing prohibited substances.

Mr Nguyen has not been a registered pharmacist since June 2017 and was unregistered in January 2021 when the tribunal made its final orders.

The tribunal found that Mr Nguyen behaved in a way that constituted professional misconduct and ordered he be reprimanded and disqualified from re-applying for registration as a pharmacist for two years. Mr Nguyen was also ordered to pay $2,000 towards the Board’s costs.

Read the tribunal’s full decision on the WA ecourts portal.

1 The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law).


Page reviewed 20/01/2021