Pharmacist caught prescribing drugs unlawfully and falsifying records
An experienced pharmacist has been caught unlawfully prescribing restricted drugs and creating false dispensing records, a Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal judge heard.
Michael Dominicus Zuyderwyk was found guilty of professional misconduct following an investigation by the Office of the Health Ombudsman.
He was found to be prescribing restricted drugs such as antibiotics, antiviral medication and topical medicines to treat relatively minor illnesses between May 2015 and January 2016.
QCAT deputy president Judge John Allen said Zuyderwyk, who had 20 years of experience as a principal of a pharmacy, had prescribed medications 14 times in a nine-month period.
“When interviewed by investigators from the Office of the Health Ombudsman, the respondent attributed his misconduct to “laziness” in failing to get doctor’s prescriptions,” he said.
“(It shows) a deliberate course of conduct exhibiting wilful disregard for one of the most fundamental requirements of the profession.”
Justice Allen said Zuyderwyk also breached his requirements in falsifying records for stocktake purposes and to also provide his family with correct instructions on taking the medication by creating labels.
“A consequence of the process was that the database entry was automatically prepopulated with the name of a common prescribing doctor for the particular patient…,” he said.
Justice Allen said Zuyderwyk did not take any steps to change the information, which resulted in a particular general practitioner being included in the database entry.
However, he said the pharmacist had since changed the pharmacy software program and database system, which required doctors’ details to be entered manually.
Justice Allen said the tribunal accepted that the last three years had been difficult due to the consequences of the investigation into his conduct.
“He suffered the embarrassment and stress of his pharmacy being closed for some hours whilst a search warrant was executed by investigators from the Office of the Health Ombudsman,” he said.
“He has continued to ruminate over his offending conduct and its potential consequences for him professionally and personally.”
Justice Allen said Zuyderwyk expressed remorse, was willing to undertake mentoring and further relevant education and co-operated with the progress of the matter.
The tribunal ordered the pharmacist to be reprimanded.
Zuyderwyk would also have to complete an accredited course on appropriate dispensing of medicines and undergo a year of mentoring to focus on ethical dispensing and decision-making.