Pharmacist Timothy George Richards – registration number 2042355 – was sentenced to jail for 40 months on December 2, 2013, for stealing drugs and medical equipment worth £422,568 from his employer Lloydspharmacy and selling them on, and for evading taxes by failing to declare £37,555 in income. He was subsequently removed from the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC)’s register on July 23, 2014.
Mr Richards applied for his GPhC registration to be restored in August 2019, and the GPhC fitness-to-practise (FtP) committee granted his request at a hearing last month (August 27), having determined that there is “very little risk of any repetition” of wrongdoing.
“Brought the profession into disrepute”
Mr Richards had been working as a manager at Lloydspharmacy in Eaton Socon, Cambridgeshire for seven years when, on February 11, 2013 he was seen taking “a large quantity of medications out of the back door of the pharmacy and putting them in the boot of his car, which was in the car park outside”, the GPhC heard at the principal hearing in July 2014.
When he was later questioned, he “admitted that he had stolen about £60,000 of medications in the same way over a period of time” and then selling them on to another pharmacist, who Mr Richards said did not know the drugs were stolen, the GPhC also heard.
An investigation revealed that Mr Richards had been “stealing systematically for five and a half years”. He had also failed to declare an income of £37,555 from working as a locum pharmacist on Saturdays from March 2010 to March 2013.
At the 2014 hearing, the GPhC committee said that Mr Richards had “brought the profession into disrepute” with his actions.
While he had made “a full confession, admitted his guilt, apologised and expressed his remorse”, Mr Richard’s fitness to practise was at the time found to be “impaired by reason of his conviction”.
Remorse “very genuine”
At last month’s FtP hearing, the GPhC heard that, since 2015, Mr Richards “has been working for a community pharmacy as a dispensing assistant and in administrative roles”.
“There is a positive testimonial from his employer, who is ready to employ the applicant as a pharmacist if he is restored to the register,” the GPhC also heard.
Mr Richards told the GPhC committee that he has passed a dispensing assistant course and a range of other CPD courses. He also sold his family home to repay “around £210,000 as a result of the proceeds of crime proceedings which followed his conviction”.
The GPhC committee heard that “at the time of his offending” Mr Richard wanted to “provide everything for his family” and had been "jealous" of those with more expensive houses or cars than him. He is now aware of “the impact of his previous offending had on his family and of how much he and they would have to lose from any repetition”, he told the GPhC.
The committee said it believes Mr Richards’ remorse is “very genuine” and is "satisfied that he is now determined to live within his means and has developed a realistic attitude to material possessions".
It is “convinced that there is now very little risk of any repetition, given the very severe consequences which that dishonesty had for the applicant and his family”, it said.
It also emphasised that “there has never been any question raised about the applicant’s professional ability as a pharmacist”, adding that Mr Richards had been on the register “for some 20 years prior to his removal and no concerns had been raised about his work”.
The GPhC approved Mr Richards’ request to have his registration restored and said he will be added to the register after he pays the registration fee “and any necessary administrative requirements of the council have been met”.