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Pharmacist struck off for buying stolen prescription forms

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The Pharmaceutical Journal Vol 264 No 7102p947
June 24, 2000 The Society

Statutory committee

Pharmacist struck off for buying stolen prescription forms

A pharmacist who allowed himself to fall under the influence of drug addicts, buying prescription forms and other stolen property from them, has had his name removed from the register by order of the Statutory Committee.
At its meeting on January 20, the committee inquired into the case of Mr Bipin Parshuram Amin, formerly of 71a Lavender Hill, London SW11. Information had been received that at Kingston crown court, on June 4, 1999, Mr Amin had pleaded guilty to, and been convicted of, eight offences of dishonestly receiving stolen goods. Seven of the offences concerned prescription forms stolen from different doctors; the remaining one related to receipt of a quantity of car radio and compact disc equipment. Mr Amin had been sentenced to 30 months' imprisonment for those offences.
Mr G. F. R. Hudson, of Walker Martineau, solicitors, appeared to present the facts of the case to the committee.
Mr Amin was not present, and was not represented.
The committee heard that there had been local concern about drug addicts congregating near Mr Amin's pharmacy at 71 Lavender Hill. The police, acting on information about suspected criminal activity, had visited Mr Amin's premises with a search warrant. They found a number of prescription forms, blank except for the doctor's stamp. In addition, a quantity of electrical items were discovered. Mr Amin had admitted having bought the prescriptions for £10 each and having bought car radios and other equipment from drug addicts.
A police witness said that, while the premises were being searched, it was found that the Controlled Drugs records were very poorly kept, as was the whole premises. He added that, on a previous visit to the pharmacy, there had been a known drug addict behind the counter with Mr Amin; there was an "unhealthy relationship" between Mr Amin and addicts who visited the pharmacy.

Problems

Giving the committee's decision, the chairman (Mr Gary Flather,QC), said that Mr Amin's career had been going well until the early 1990s, when he had begun to suffer both health and business problems. To improve his business situation, he had decided to dispense for drug addicts and the number using his pharmacy had increased to 25.
Every pharmacist ought to know, said the chairman, that drug addicts were among the most difficult people to deal with. Not only were they unreliable, they were disruptive on the premises and put off other patients. In consequence, it was likely that Mr Amin had come increasingly to rely on their trade. And he had been harassed by drug addicts. They had demanded money from him and were a nuisance on his premises. The committee had been horrified to hear that an addict had been seen behind the counter in the dispensary, unattended and unsupervised. The whole fabric of professionalism had fallen away.
It was disappointing that there had been insufficient liaison with the police, so that the Society was not aware that the pharmacy was becoming a local trouble spot.
When the police came to search the pharmacy, they had found 139 blank prescription forms, stolen from local doctors. This created the potential for Mr Amin to write prescriptions for whatever he pleased and for claiming for items that had not been dispensed. No pharmacist should ever be in possession of a blank pad of prescriptions without the clearest of innocent reasons, the chairman said. There had been no such reasons in this case.
By giving the addicts money for stolen property, Mr Amin had been encouraging thefts. It was an appalling position that he had got himself into. He had been under the thumb of the addicts, losing control of his pharmacy and of the drugs that Parliament had decided pharmacists should be entrusted with.
The committee was sympathetic about Mr Amin's sad decline, but the public had to be protected. Mr Amin's name was ordered to be removed from the register.
He had three months in which to appeal.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 20002008

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