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Bogus GPhC inspector targets Boots and Lloyds branches to steal drugs

Cambridgeshire Police: A small amount of pain medication was taken from the Boots pharmacy
Cambridgeshire Police: A small amount of pain medication was taken from the Boots pharmacy

A woman has been arrested after posing as a GPhC inspector to access pain medication from branches of Boots and Lloydspharmacy.

The 34-year-old woman from Cambridge was arrested on August 8 on suspicion of fraud after impersonating a General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) inspector and conducting fake inspections of a Boots branch in Grafton Centre, Cambridge on August 3 and a Lloydspharmacy in Burwell on August 7, Cambridgeshire Police confirmed to C+D last week (August 15).

A “small quantity” of painkillers was taken from the Boots branch during the inspection, the police said.

The suspect had already visited two GP practices in the area the previous month, pretending to be a Care Quality Commission official, Cambridgeshire Police said.

The suspect has been “released under investigation”, they added.

“Check visitors’ ID”

The police have encouraged pharmacies to save any CCTV footage and contact them if they believe the suspect visited their premises.

The GPhC told C+D the responsible pharmacist should always check an inspector’s ID and can contact the regulator if they are unsure of the person’s identity.

“In a small number of cases, we do conduct inspections outside of office hours. In these cases [pharmacists] can also check the contact details of the inspector on our website,” it added.

Lloydspharmacy told C+D that following the incident, it has communicated to all its pharmacy teams “the importance of being vigilant and to always check the ID of any visitors”.

It also encouraged pharmacy staff to contact the GPhC if they are unsure if an inspector is genuine.

12 Comments
Question: 
Has your pharmacy ever fallen victim to a crime?

Jateen Shah, Community pharmacist

Inspection visits are announced before and I.d should be checked and visitors book signed . Good play acting to fool all the staff and pharmacist, disgrace !!

V K P, Community pharmacist

so once gain the onus is on the RP to carry out unpaid work to check the validity of a so-called inspector. was this scenario not assesed as a risk when the GPhC decided to carry out unannounced inspections.

Lets put it this way, the RP does make the call to the GPhC, would the fake inspector still be standing around to be confronted?? and what if the GPhC tell the RP that no such person is expected to visit the pharmacy??? then what?? who carries out the citizens arrest and calls the police??? we are now to ensure that a genuine mug is coming to inspect your pharmacy?? we have all the time to do all this unpaid activity. Refund our fees GPhC as we are now expected to do all your tasks for you and pay you for it???? no MUG tatto on our heads yet.

Ranjeev Patel, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

Seems quite an extreme to go to. She could have just flown to Mexico and bought whatever she wanted OTC without a script.

anti-depressed Pharmacist, Manager

Or seen an online Doctor and filled out the easy questions.

Farmer Cyst, Community pharmacist

My Dad's name is Dick Payne.

 

He used one of these online doctors, had only input his name and 200 Codeine and half a dozen viagra tablets showed up at his door. No questions asked!

SP Ph, Community pharmacist

All the SOPs out of the window. This exposes the dark side of the Multiples. May be we all need new SOPs for GPhC/ CQC/ HMRC/ you name it organisations and ask the inspectors from these organisations to sign before they start their inspections. Also take Mug Shots of each of them before they even enter your dispensary.

Looks like a professional dupe. She did not target the smaller pharmacies but the Big Chains and GP surgeries. Is there a teeny tiny possibility that this person may be an ex-employee of one of these establishments or a locum pharmacist/tech?? Need more details otherwise this is one more space filling article.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

1. What were these Pain medicines? OTC, P or POM?

2. On what grounds did this (fake) inspector take these meds?

3. How on earth did the Pharmacist allow a certain amount of pain medicines to be taken away by anyone without a Rx or payment (if OTC) ??

A B, Community pharmacist

It does need clarifying whether these meds were taken without the staff knowing i.e. stolen or if they were given to the "inspector" at their request.

Dodo pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Pharmacy inspectors often used to take away test prescriptions to check what had been dispensed. I don’t know if they still do this but I clearly remember a pharmacy inspector taking a bottle of dispensed ibuprofen during an inspection. 

David Moore, Locum pharmacist

Yes, Dodo, they did but would leave a prescription for what they took.

Lucky Ex-Locum, Superintendent Pharmacist

To be totally pedantic, the inspector would leave a receipt for the items which could then be given to the PPA in lieu. If they did an actual prescription, that would have been illegal!

Reeyah H, Community pharmacist

They probably only realised after she left maybe? Checked camera footage? Strange though still!

 

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