By: Amy Wiggins
A pharmacist has had his practising license suspended after he sold “excessive” amounts of addictive prescription drugs to customers without a prescription.
Sasha Taylor was working at Birkenhead Avenue Pharmacy in Auckland during 2014 and 2015 when he followed his boss’ lead in selling potentially addictive drugs to people without a prescription and in “excessive” quantities.
Pharmacy owner Park Ung Wong pleaded guilty to one charge of forgery, three representative charges of creating a criminal nuisance and one charge under the Medicines Act of supplying prescription medication, and was sentenced to 10 months home detention in 2016.
In a decision released today, the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal found that Taylor was guilty of professional misconduct.
The tribunal heard that Taylor was working as a pharmacist without a current practising certificate and that he sold excessive quantities of restricted medicines which had the potential for abuse or dependency on 34 occasion.
He also sold restricted medicines on about 155 occasions without recording the name and address of the customer as required.
Taylor also sold prescription medicine Relieve, codeine and paracetamol, about seven times without a prescription and in large amounts – 100 tablet packs.
The pharmacist also falsified entries into the pharmacy’s controlled drugs register by trying to remove his name and replace it with Wong’s initials.
He was also criticised for failing to take appropriate steps when he became aware his boss was supplying medicines in large quantities without prescriptions.
The pharmacist did not appear before the tribunal but information given to them showed his family emigrated to New Zealand when he was young and he struggled to pay his way through university and had enormous difficulty finding a job when he graduated.
The tribunal found that while his actions may have been born out of desperation to establish himself in the career that did not excuse his misconduct.
The tribunal censured Taylor, suspended his right to practise for two years, ordered that he complete a course on professional ethics before he resumed practising and that he work for a year under the supervision of an approved pharmacist.
He was also ordered to pay costs of $35,260.20.
Source: NZ Herald