Reckless disregard of standards leads to striking-off order
A pharmacist's "reckless disregard of standards" has led the fitness-to-practise committee of the General Pharmaceutical Council to order the removal of his name from the Register.
On 7 August 2012, the committee inquired into the case of Anil Kumar Tugnet (registration number 2041042). A number of allegations had been received relating to dispensing irregularities that took place between 4 August 2008 and March 2009:
- He supplied 10 ampules of sodium chloride 10ml injection 30 per cent to a patient against a prescription or sodium chloride 10ml injection 0.9 per cent
- He supplied two boxes of atropine 1 per cent eye drop Minims and one box of 20 dexamethasone eye drop Minims MB against a prescription for three boxes of 20 artificial tears eye drop Minims 0.5ml
- He placed, and/or instructed staff to place, expired medicines onto the dispensary shelf and into boxes with in-date stock to be redispensed to patients
- He supplied, or instructed other members of staff to supply, generic medicinal products into a patient's monitored dosage system tray when the prescription specified a branded product
- He returned Controlled Drugs to the CD cabinet with the intention of redispensing them to other patients
A further allegation referred to Mr Tugnet's response when a locum pharmacist who worked at his pharmacy complained to the primary care trust about the way in which the pharmacy was being run: he instructed a preregistration trainee to tell the PCT that her statement was a lie, or words to that effect.
Mr Tugnet was not present at the inquiry and was not represented.
Guy Micklewright, of counsel, instructed by Blake Lapthorn, solicitors, appeared on behalf of the GPhC.
Giving the committee's decision, the chairman, Patrick Milmo, QC, said that the committee had found the allegations proved in respect of:
- Dispensing errors of sufficient severity as to cause suffering and distress to the patients involved
- A systematic and dishonest use of expired and returned medicines that seemed to be part of Mr Tugnet's basic methodology in running his pharmacy
- Systematically dispensing generic medicines instead of prescribed branded products, and involving his staff in illegality by instructing them to follow this practice
- Blatant dishonesty in requesting his preregistration trainee to tell the PCT that complaints it had received were lies, when plainly they were not
"All this behaviour would surely be regarded by any rational thinking member of the profession as deplorable and unacceptable and we have no hesitation if deciding that it amounted to serious misconduct," the chairman said.
Ordering Mr Tugnet's removal from the Register, the chairman said it was clear that dishonesty was an integral part of his practice. "Then there was the disgraceful endeavour to corrupt a trainee into dishonestly defaming a pharmacist who had reported him to the PCT," he added.
Concluding, the chairman said: "There is also a continuing risk to patients and members of the public if he were to practise pharmacy. His behaviour is fundamentally incompatible with registration. If it were known that a pharmacist who had behaved as the registrant has done had been allowed to remain on the Register, there would be potential damage to public confidence in the profession. And there was reckless disregard of the standards of conduct, ethics and performance required of pharmacists by the GPhC. These are all factors . . . which make removal from the Register the appropriate sanction."
He ordered Mr Tugnet's immediate suspension from the Register during the period until the erasure order came into force.
Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 11110190
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