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Pharmacist issued warning after fly tipping of ‘personal patient details’

An East London pharmacist has been slapped with a warning after the dumping of rubbish from his pharmacy containing “private” patient information, the regulator has revealed.

Pankaj Gadhvi, registration number 2044580, was issued a warning over a “large fly tipping incident” in East London at a General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) investigating committee hearing last month (April 2) .

The waste included “private and personal patient details, dry packaging, blister packs, prescription slips, boxes” and “paperwork including invoices of business”, according to the hearing document.

Read more: ‘Litany of dishonesty’: Pharmacist suspended for wholesaling fraud

Gadhvi said that “persons unknown” collected the waste from his bin and dumped it, the committee heard.

But the regulator stressed that his was a “fundamental and serious failure” to keep patient details safe.


“Overflowing” bin


Officers from the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham investigated the incident on Valence Avenue in Dagenham in May last year where they “examined four black bags” of waste, it said.

They found that the bags were full of “commercial waste” from Valence Pharmacy, where Gadhvi was the regular responsible pharmacist and “effectively also the owner of the pharmacy” at the time, it added.

Read more: Pharmacist struck off over ‘extreme’ child pornography and bestiality images

The officers visited Valence Pharmacy after inspecting the discarded waste but found that “it was closed”, the document said.

They then visited the rear of the building, where they could see a “red Biffa bin that belonged to the pharmacy”, it added.

According to the document, “the waste in the red Biffa bin was overflowing with black bags identical” to the fly-tipped bags and they could “not close the bin”.


“Persons unknown”


In June 2023, officers again visited the pharmacy and questioned Gadhvi about the fly-tipped waste  and he told them that “persons unknown collected waste from his bin and took it to Valence Avenue to dump it there”, the committee heard.

He was cautioned and the law around “allowing commercial waste to escape his control was explained” to him, the document said.

It added that “the current waste arrangements in place for the business were not acceptable” and he was informed that a notice would be served on how he was “[expected] to present commercial waste in the future”.

Read more: Wegovy online prescription warning - pharmacists threatened by GPhC action

In July 2023, the officers cautioned Gadhvi again and warned him that “due to the gravity of the offence concerning confidential documents and GDPR, he would be prosecuted”, according to the hearing document.

It said that “it was clear based on evidence gathered” in May 2023 and the two separate interviews under caution that “he had not taken all reasonable precautions from preventing waste from escaping his control”.


“Serious failure”


The regulator noted that Gadhvi had “paid in full” a fixed penalty notice of £400 that had been served on him.

But it stressed that “there was a fundamental and serious failure on the part of [Gadhvi] to keep secure patient details and other sensitive pharmacy waste”.

It decided that the “appropriate outcome” would be to issue a warning to Gadhvi that will be published on the register for 12 months.

Read more: GPhC: Just 8% of sexual misconduct allegations referred for FtP hearing

As well as outlining the incident’s events, the warning said that Gadhvi had “breached the following GPhC standards for pharmacy professionals”:

  • Standard 5 – all pharmacy professionals must use their professional judgement
  • Standard 6 – all pharmacy professionals must behave in a professional manner
  • Standard 7 – all pharmacy professionals must respect and maintain the person’s confidentiality and privacy

“The registrant is warned of the unacceptability of his conduct in failing to ensure confidential patient data and information was secure at all times from unauthorised access and disposal,” it added. 

Read the determination in full here.

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