Pharmacy Board of Australia - Pharmacist cancelled for possessing prescription medication illegally and offering to supply drugs
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Pharmacist cancelled for possessing prescription medication illegally and offering to supply drugs

04 Apr 2024

A South Australian pharmacist has had his registration cancelled and is disqualified from applying for registration until November 2025 for unlawfully possessing prescription medication belonging to his employer and offering to supply drugs and prescription medication to associates.

Mr Mahn (Peter) Nguyen was employed as a Senior Clinical Pharmacist at two pharmacy sites in Adelaide. Between 2013-2018, when in this position, Mr Nguyen:

  • without authority, removed from his place of employment prescription medication, drugs of dependence and two Drugs of Dependence books, and stored these at his home
  • failed to keep accurate and/or appropriate records relating to drugs of dependence at his workplace
  • offered to supply illicit drugs and Schedule 8 and Schedule 4 medications to his associates for their use, and
  • issued a prescription to an associate for pain relief medication using another person’s prescriber number without appropriate authority.

Mr Nguyen was suspended by his employer for this conduct after a meeting on 12 February 2018. Following this meeting, Mr Nguyen returned medications to his employer and resigned from his employment. In March 2018, Mr Nguyen was reported to police.

On 26 April 2018, Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) received a notification from a confidential notifier about the conduct. The Pharmacy Board of Australia (the Board) suspended Mr Nguyen’s registration on 14 May 2018 pending disciplinary and criminal proceedings.

In September 2019 Mr Nguyen pleaded guilty to possessing the prescription medications in Port Adelaide Magistrates Court and was given an 18-month, good-behaviour bond including 60 hours of community service.

On 5 October 2023, the Board referred Mr Nguyen to the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (tribunal) for professional misconduct.

The tribunal, in making its decision, acknowledged that Mr Nguyen was remorseful and had participated in the proceedings. The tribunal was also impressed by Mr Nguyen's insight into his own behaviour and by his efforts to find other meaningful employment and address the core issues that led to the conduct.

However, it found Mr Nguyen's behaviour to be serious, wilful and to have occurred over an extended period of time. The tribunal considered that the time Mr Nguyen had already spent suspended from practise to be relevant. When cancelling his registration and disqualifying him, the tribunal also reprimanded Mr Nguyen and prohibited him from providing any health service with unsupervised access to medications until he is re-registered. Mr Nguyen was also ordered to pay the Board's costs of bringing the proceedings.

Read the tribunal’s full decision on the AustLII website.

Page reviewed 4/04/2024