Pubdate: Fri, 25 Nov 2005
Source: Regina Leader-Post (CN SN)
Copyright: 2005 The Leader-Post Ltd.
Author: Pamela Cowan, staff writer


Pharmacists Sanctioned

Two Weyburn pharmacists have been sanctioned for incompetence and
misconduct after dispensing 17,000 talwin and ritalin pills that were
used in "a substantial drug trafficking scheme."

In a hearing before the Saskatchewan College of Pharmacists'
discipline committee in June, the two pharmacists admitted dispensing
the narcotics which were used in a "trafficking scheme that was
masterminded by a third individual," according to the college's
newsletter released this month. Talwin and ritalin are commonly abused
on the street because when mixed and injected, they produce a
heroin-like high.

The committee ordered Price-Rite Guardian Drugs principal owner Robert
M. Jones suspended for four months. Both he and fellow pharmacist
Robert Travis were also ordered to take remedial training by the college.

"The agreed evidence was that in total approximately 17,000 narcotic
pills had been trafficked by the individual and or others
participating in this criminal scheme," according to an agreed
statement of facts released by the college.

"The majority of these drugs were dispensed from the pharmacy by Mr.
Jones and/or Mr. Travis although the committee noted in its decision
that Mr. Travis' involvement was more limited than that of Mr. Jones,
who also served as manager of the pharmacy."

The college advised the Regina Integrated Drug Unit of the charges in
late August.

"The college made us aware of their discipline proceedings and as of
now, there are no criminal charges against these individuals," Heather
Russell, RCMP spokesperson said Thursday.

According to an August court ruling when Jones unsuccessfully appealed
his suspension, criminal charges were laid against the person who
obtained and distributed the pills.

After receiving a complaint in January 2003, the college's discipline
committee met in Regina June 20 and 21 to determine whether the two
Weyburn pharmacists were guilty of professional incompetence and
misconduct under sections of The Pharmacy Act.

"When complaints are received in writing, they automatically get
referred to our complaints committee for investigation," said Ray
Joubert, college registrar.

If the complaints committee determines there are grounds, the matter
is referred to the discipline committee, made up of six licenced
pharmacists and one member of the public.

Before the committee, Jones and Travis admitted to a variety of
charges that took place between January 2001 to the end of February
2002. Since Joubert became registrar in 1985, the discipline committee
has never dealt with so many allegations against its members, he said.

"There were a considerable number of allegations that were made that
needed to be investigated and that took a considerable amount of time
to investigate because of the sheer volume and the sheer complexity,"
Joubert said.

Both pharmacists have been ordered to complete remedial training,
which includes ethical and therapeutic decision-making, jurisprudence
and ethics and documentation and communication.

In addition, a college field officer will do at least one full review
annually for three years on all matters relating to the pharmacy and
the professional practices of Jones and Travis.

The field officer will ensure that the pharmacists abide by all of the
rules, regulations and standards while "paying particular attention to
the types of drugs that were the subject of the discipline hearing,"
Joubert said.
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