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Pharmacy premises removed from register after director's convictions

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The Pharmaceutical Journal Vol 264 No 7102p948
June 24, 2000 The Society

Statutory committee

Pharmacy premises removed from register after director's convictions

A company whose director had dispensed prescriptions in the absence of a pharmacist has had its premises removed from the register by order of the Statutory Committee.
At its meeting on January 18, the committee inquired into the case of Smiletrophy Ltd, which owns a pharmacy, Saxon Chemist, at 46a Heaton Road, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne.
The committee had received a complaint from the Council of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society alleging that on June 29, 1999, at Newcastle upon Tyne magistrates court, Mr Wai Man Yong, a director of the company, had pleaded guilty to 11 counts of permitting, by consent and connivance, Smiletrophy to supply medicinal products not on a general sale list. He had been sentenced at Newcastle crown court on August 19, 1999, and had received a fine of £300 on each count and had been ordered to pay £1,800 costs.
Mr Yong was present at the hearing but was not represented.
Mr D. Bradly, of counsel, instructed by Mr G. R. F. Hudson, of Walker Martineau, solicitors, appeared in order to present the facts of the case to the committee.
The committee heard that Mr Yong had been registered as a pharmacist until being struck off in January, 1997, for allowing Saxon Chemist to operate in the absence of a pharmacist while he was on holiday. He had then formed a company, Smiletrophy Ltd, to take over the pharmacy and had appointed a superintendent pharmacist.
On December 23, 1998, a locum had been in charge of the pharmacy. While she was at lunch, and the pharmacy was supposed to be closed, Mr Yong had dispensed seven prescriptions, involving 11 medicines. He had distributed the dispensed prescription forms throughout the bundle of prescriptions dispensed earlier by the locum pharmacist.
On her return from lunch, the locum had discovered what had happened and had closed the premises and contacted the superintendent pharmacist. She had taken immediate steps to trace all the patients to whom Mr Yong had dispensed medicines. On checking the medicines she had discovered a number of errors, including sulpiride 200mg tablets being supplied when 400mg tablets had been ordered, four packs of Ventolin inhalers without dispensing labels attached, prednisolone 5mg tablets without a dispensing label, and co-proxamol tablets with no dose on the label.

Locks changed

The superintendent pharmacist had contacted the Society, told Mr Yong to leave the premises and ordered the locks to be changed.
Giving the committee's decision, the chairman (Mr Gary Flather, QC) said that Mr Yong had described how he had become agitated when people with prescriptions waiting to be dispensed were banging on the pharmacy door before the locum had returned from lunch. He had dispensed their prescriptions, acting in flagrant disregard of the fact that he was not on the register. When the locum had returned, he had initially sought to conceal the prescriptions he had dispensed and did not tell her the truth straight away.
The committee congratulated the locum on the way she had stood up to Mr Yong, the company director, and what she had done on finding out what had occurred. The superintendent pharmacist was also congratulated for his handling of the matter. He had acted in a way that was a model for all superintendent pharmacists.
The chairman emphasised that the committee was concerned only with the convictions, but the shoddiness of the labelling and dispensing had a close bearing on the case, particularly in view of the irresponsibility Mr Yong had shown in his previous appearance before the committee.
Mr Yong was now remorseful, said the chairman; his manner suggested that perhaps he had never realised how serious his behaviour had been and what the consequences could be.
The Medicines Act 1968, section 80, he continued, stated that "where a body corporate carries on a retail pharmacy and any member of the board, or an officer, is convicted of an offence and the offence is such as in the opinion of the Statutory Committee renders him, or would if he were a pharmacist render him, unfit to be a pharmacist, . . . the Statutory Committee, after inquiring into the case, may direct that the corporate body shall be disqualified".
Mr Yong was a director, and secretary, of Smiletrophy Ltd; he had been found guilty of having, by consent and connivance, permitted the company to commit an offence. The committee therefore disqualified Smilegrove Ltd and directed that its premises be removed from the register.
The company had three months in which to appeal.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 20002007

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