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Pharmacist struck off for defrauding NHS of £76k by modifying scripts

A pharmacist in Wales has been struck off the GPhC register for committing fraud against the NHS, claiming £76,475 by modifying over 1,500 prescriptions.

Michael Grant Lloyd – registration number: 2037258 – was sentenced to 16 months in prison for fraud last year (October 22). Mr Lloyd had claimed a higher prescription reimbursement from the NHS than he was due, the General Pharmaceutical Council's (GPhC) fitness-to-practise committee heard at a hearing on September 22 this year.

Mr Lloyd is still serving his sentence. He was accused of amending over 1,500 handwritten prescriptions to show a more expensive form of the medicine than the one that had been dispensed. 

The fraud, taking place while Mr Lloyd ran Talbot Pharmacy in Talbot Green, Wales, included claiming reimbursement for “liquid medicines or dispersible tablets when in fact he actually dispensed a cheaper alternative such as tablets or capsules”.

The regulator heard that Mr Lloyd – who is currently serving his sentence on licence and was neither present nor represented at the hearing – admitted his guilt the second time he was interviewed by the police, that he had “shown remorse” and that he repaid the full amount within a month of the second police interview.

However, the GPhC said it could not be certain that “there is no risk of repetition” of Mr Lloyd's actions and said he “has brought the reputation of the profession into disrepute” with his behaviour.

Moved by greed

At the time of the fraud Mr Lloyd was co-director of Llanharan Pharmacy Ltd – which operates a number of pharmacies in Wales – along with his two brothers, who were not involved in the fraud, the regulator heard.

Concerns about Mr Lloyd’s practice were initially referred to NHS Counter Fraud Service (CFS) Wales in November 2017. The team conducted a local investigation into Mr Lloyd covering April 2014 to January 2018.

It was found that Mr Lloyd had modified more than 1,500 prescriptions, “to the value of £76,475”.

After refusing to comment at a first police interview in January 2018, he admitted to the fraud at a second interview in April 2019, providing a statement in which he showed remorse and committing to repaying the full amount, which he did within a month – using his company’s money.

During his sentencing hearing at Cardiff Crown Court in October last year, the judge said Mr Lloyd’s fraud was “careful and calculated” and that the pharmacist – who was in a position of “great responsibility” – only had one motivation, “and that is greed”, the council heard.

However, the judge acknowledged that Mr Lloyd showed “genuine remorse” and noted “references which are highly praising of you in all aspects of your life”.

The GPhC committee took into consideration the judge’s words but said that this was not an “isolated incident” and it is “likely” that Mr Lloyd would have continued with his conduct “had NHS CFS not investigated the matter”.

Mr Lloyd had “intentionally defrauded the NHS”, the GPhC heard.

The regulator decided to remove Mr Lloyd from the register as it concluded that the public and fellow professionals would find his behaviour “deplorable” and that his removal from the register was necessary in order to “maintain public confidence in the profession”.

The registrant did not appeal the GPhC’s decision and was removed from the register on October 21, a GPhC spokesperson told C+D yesterday (December 3).

Graham Dainty, head of NHS CFS Wales, told C+D yesterday: “The decision by the GPhC to remove Michael [Grant] Lloyd from their professional register reinforces the strong message that fraud against the NHS will not be tolerated.

“Mr Lloyd has had to repay all of the money he defrauded from NHS Wales, he was imprisoned and has now lost his profession as a pharmacist.”

A C+D investigation last year revealed that, between January 1, 2017 and June 30, 2019, only one pharmacy owner was sanctioned for committing fraud.

Read the full GPhC determination here

What do you make of the GPhC's decision?

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