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Pharmacist suspended for inappropriately dispensing restricted medications

19 Mar 2024

A Victorian pharmacist has been reprimanded and had his registration suspended for two months for inappropriately supplying scheduled medications, failing to maintain associated drug registers and failing to comply with registration conditions.

On 9 December 2022, the Pharmacy Board of Australia (the Board) referred pharmacist Park Rest to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal). The Board alleged that Mr Rest had dispensed Schedule 8 medications to aged care residents without a valid prescription, failed to maintain the integrity of the Schedule 8 drug register, failed to comply with registration conditions and supplied a Schedule 4 medication to a colleague for her husband without a prescription.

Schedule 4 medications are prescription only medicines that must be prescribed by an appropriately registered health practitioner. Schedule 8 medications are controlled drugs that have strict requirements for their supply, use and associated record keeping.

The Board and Mr Rest agreed on the facts of the allegations, including that:

  • Between February and August 2019, Mr Rest had inappropriately dispensed Schedule 8 medications. Mr Rest regularly dispensed or authorised the dispensing of Schedule 8 medications to residents at ten residential aged care facilities before he had received a valid prescription or verbal authorisation from a doctor.
  • Between February and October 2019, Mr Rest failed to maintain the integrity of the Schedule 8 drug register. He inaccurately recorded the balance of Schedule 8 medications, did not update the drug register in a timely manner, provided his password to an intern pharmacist and did not accurately record each instance a Schedule 8 medication was dispensed or received.
  • As a result of the above conduct, in May 2020 the Board placed conditions on Mr Rest’s registration requiring he be supervised by a Board-approved pharmacist when dispensing Schedule 8 medications.
  • Between May and June 2020, Mr Rest failed to comply with his registration conditions by dispensing medications without the supervision of a Board-approved pharmacist. Documentation showed another pharmacist did oversee the dispensing, but they had not been formally approved by the Board.
  • On 4 June 2020, Mr Rest inappropriately supplied a Schedule 4 medication to a colleague for her husband without a prescription. He did not check if the medication was suitable for the colleague’s husband, warn the colleague regarding the correct dose or potential side effects of the medication and did not label the medication.

At a hearing on 14 December 2023, the tribunal found that Mr Rest’s conduct amounted to professional misconduct and that his knowledge, understanding and compliance with the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Vic) and the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations was below the standard expected of a registered pharmacist.

The tribunal ordered that Mr Rest:

  • be reprimanded,
  • have his registration as a pharmacist suspended for a period of two months from 20 January 2024, and
  • have conditions imposed on his registration requiring him to partake in further education prior to his return to practice, attend mentoring upon returning to practice, and have limitations on practice whilst subject to mentoring.

Read the full decision on AustLII

Page reviewed 19/03/2024