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Fentanyl pharmacist who gave false references struck off by GPhC


Fentanyl pharmacist who gave false references struck off by GPhC

By Arthur Walsh

A pharmacist who was convicted of possessing Class A controlled drugs and dismissed by his employer – and who subsequently lied about this to two locum agencies – has been struck off by the GPhC.

A GPhC fitness to practise videolink hearing on June 1 this year heard that Thomas Philip Todd had been convicted on two counts of fraud and one count of possession in separate trials in 2021 relating to his actions while working at Day Lewis branches in early 2019 and his attempts to conceal these.

When a Day Lewis area manager became concerned that patient-returned medicines were going missing from four branches, the company carried out a spot check at the Peckham High St branch in south London on March 22 2019.

This revealed Mr Todd was in possession of “a number of items” including three fentanyl patches and tramadol. He had tried to conceal the fentanyl patches “down the back of his trousers” according to the GPhC.

Mr Todd tried to claim falsely that the fentanyl patches had been prescribed to someone he knew to treat their back pain.

Day Lewis dismissed Mr Todd for his actions, which took place while he was acting as the responsible pharmacist.

The police offered him a caution, but he refused to accept this and went to a trial in June 2021 at which he was convicted for possessing Class A controlled drugs and given a nine-month suspended sentence. He was also ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work and pay a £140 victim surcharge, as well as £1,000 towards prosecution costs.

The hearing also heard that in August 2019 Mr Todd had falsely informed healthcare staffing agencies Pulse Allied Health and TFS Healthcare that there were no criminal or regulatory investigations against him, and that he had never been dismissed by an employer.

Mr Todd unlawfully gave Pulse a falsified reference he claimed was from his manager at Day Lewis, whose name was spelled incorrectly. He had written the reference himself after logging into the Day Lewis server remotely, which emerged when Pulse contacted Day Lewis to confirm the dates on his reference.

Meanwhile, TFS Healthcare placed Mr Todd in a full time position in the in-patient pharmacy at St Albans City Hospital from November 27 2019 to February 10 2020, when TFS became aware of the GPhC’s investigation against him and removed him from its books.

He was convicted of two counts of fraud on January 26 2021 and sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months.

In deciding to remove Mr Todd from the register, the FtP committee said he had lied repeatedly about his actions and benefited financially from this, thereby bringing the profession into disrepute.

The committee said of Mr Todd, who did not attend the hearing: “He has not provided anything to show that he understands the seriousness of his actions, or the impact they have had on public confidence in the profession.

“He has not engaged with his regulator regarding these proceedings, and has not provided any evidence of mitigating circumstances.”

The GPhC decided that the “proportionate and appropriate” course of action was to remove his name from the register and impose an interim suspension in order to prevent him from working during the appeal period.

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