02 Feb 2024
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) has prosecuted a man for holding himself out as a registered pharmacist after his registration lapsed, in contravention of section 116 of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law 2009 (National Law).
In May 2021 the practitioner first obtained provisional registration as a pharmacist which required him to practise under supervision. On 25 June 2022 that registration lapsed after he failed to renew it.
Shortly after his registration lapsed, he contacted Ahpra to query his current registration status. He was told he was not registered and he was not able to practise as a pharmacist without registration. Despite this, he continued to practise as a pharmacist for four months.
On 22 October 2022, he was stood down by his employer after a routine audit of employees identified his name did not appear on Ahpra’s public register.
The man currently holds registration with the Board and is currently entitled to practise as a provisional pharmacist under supervision. There is no suggestion that he caused any harm to any patient during the period he was not registered.
On 7 December 2023 he pleaded guilty to one charge of holding himself out as a registered pharmacist. On 25 January 2024 he was sentenced in the Downing Centre Local Court, Sydney, to a 12-month conditional release order and ordered to pay Ahpra’s legal costs of $3,000.
In sentencing the man, Magistrate John Arms noted the importance of registration for pharmacists, commenting that ‘it is not a matter which is trivial in nature. It imperative to the safety of the community.’
Pharmacy Board of Australia Chair, Brett Simmonds, said the decision in this case sent a strong message to all pharmacists about the importance of maintaining their registration status at all times.
‘It is only through the registration process that the Pharmacy Board can ensure all Australian pharmacists meet the Board’s registration standards including professional indemnity insurance, recency of practice and continuing professional development,’ he said.
‘This case also highlights the diligent efforts of the employer who discovered the pharmacist was unregistered through a routine audit of employees. It is important that employers use the register of practitioners on the Ahpra website to verify the registration status of their employees.’
Anyone with concerns about whether an individual is registered can check the online Register of practitioners maintained by Ahpra or call 1300 419 495.