'Fake' pharmacist convicted, to pay $39.5K


Tuesday, 02 April, 2019


'Fake' pharmacist convicted, to pay $39.5K

A man who unlawfully presented himself as a registered pharmacist has been convicted and fined $24,500 and costs of $15,000.

A New South Wales court convicted suspended pharmacist David Le of holding out as a registered pharmacist. The charges, filed by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), alleged that Le had held himself out as a registered pharmacist between 8 August 2017 and 15 August 2018 in contravention of the National Law.1

On 7 August 2017, the Pharmacy Council of New South Wales imposed an interim suspension on Le’s registration after it determined that a suspension was appropriate for the protection of the health or safety of the public or was otherwise in the public interest.

AHPRA alleged that despite this suspension, Le continued to open and operate the pharmacy alone without a registered pharmacist on duty.

On 7 March 2019, Le pleaded guilty to holding himself out as a registered pharmacist, when he was not.

On 27 March 2019, Magistrate Still, in the Local Court, convicted Le and imposed an aggregate fine of $24,500. He was ordered to pay legal costs to AHPRA of $15,000.

AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher said the court outcome demonstrates AHPRA’s work is helping to protect health consumers across Australia.

“When a pharmacist is suspended by a regulatory body, it is to protect the public. To flout that decision and continue to practise as a registered pharmacist when suspended amounts to a serious risk to the safety and health of the public,”  Fletcher said.

The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2019 (Qld) has been passed by the Queensland Parliament. The amendments include an increase in penalties and the introduction of custodial sentences for some offences under the National Law, including where a person holds themselves out to be a registered health practitioner when they are not.

Anyone with concerns about whether an individual holds registration with a national health profession board can check the Register of practitioners maintained by AHPRA ) or contact AHPRA on 1300 419 495.

Footnote:

1. The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law).

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Africa Studio

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