22 Apr 2021
A New South Wales pharmacist who continued to practise after his registration was suspended has been convicted and fined a total of $38,000 following charges filed by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra).
In May 2019, Mr Albert Young’s registration was suspended by the Pharmacy Council of NSW after receiving allegations about fraudulent activity. However, he continued to work while unregistered as a locum pharmacist at a Penrith pharmacy. Suspended practitioners cannot practise or hold themselves out as being registered. His employer terminated his employment when alerted by the Pharmacy Council of NSW that he was not registered.
Late yesterday, Mr Young pleaded guilty and was sentenced at the Local Court of New South Wales for 19 charges of holding himself out as a pharmacist in breach of the National Law1. Magistrate Swaine imposed a fine of $2,000 per charge and ordered Mr Young to pay Ahpra’s legal costs in the amount of $2,500 and the court’s costs of $3,230.
Magistrate Swaine commented that Mr Young’s conduct was, ‘unethical, dishonest and Mr Young knew it … pharmacists are held in high regard by the community and are expected to be honest’, and that Mr Young ‘is to be held accountable for his actions.’
‘Our core role is public safety. Any practitioner who continues to practise when their registration is suspended is breaking the law and violating the public’s trust. We will not hesitate to prosecute such individuals,’ Ahpra CEO, Martin Fletcher, said.
‘Falsely claiming to be registered erodes public trust in health practitioners. This outcome is welcome, and we hope it sends a strong message of deterrence to others,’ Pharmacy Board of Australia Chair, Brett Simmonds, said.
In New South Wales, there is co-regulation. This means that complaints about practitioners in NSW are managed by the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) and the relevant health professional council and not by Ahpra and the National Board.
In NSW, Ahpra prosecutes crimes committed against the National Law such as holding out offences.
Please note additional proceedings involving Mr Young in NSW.
The HCCC brought separate proceedings about Mr Young in the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal. The tribunal cancelled his registration in November 2020 and disqualified him from applying for registration for a period of four years.
1The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law).