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High Court rejects appeal by BBC exposé pharmacist

The High Court rejected a claim by Hussain Rasool, 2068258, that the GPhC had given "undue weight to BBC publicity"

The High Court threw out an appeal by Hussain Jamal Rasool, registration number 2068258, against the General Pharmaceutical Council's decision to strike him off following a BBC investigation into illegal medicine sales

The High Court has rejected a pharmacist’s attempt to overturn his removal from the register for selling controlled drugs without a prescription.

Hussain Jamal Rasool, registration number 2068258, was struck off the register by a General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) fitness-to-practise committee in August 2014, after he was caught on camera selling diazepam and Oramorph without a prescription in a 2012 BBC investigation.

Mr Rasool appealed the committee’s decision on the grounds that its chair had heard matters relating to him in another fitness-to-practise hearing, and because the sanction of removal was “disproportionate”, the court heard on February 3.

Mr Rasool argued that the committee’s chair should have removed himself from the fitness-to-practise proceedings because he had heard references to Mr Rasool in an interim order hearing regarding another employee from the same pharmacy, who was also struck off as a result of the BBC investigation.

But the High Court said this material had “amounted to no more than an out-of-court assertion” and did “not appear to have been of any relevance” to the hearings of either individual.The chair of Mr Rasool’s case could not even remember what this information had been, the court heard.

'No possibility of bias'

The chair was an “experienced QC” who regularly presided over GPhC hearings, the court said. It did not agree that there had been a “real possibility of bias” towards Mr Rasool’s case and rejected this argument.

Mr Rasool also claimed that the GPhC’s decision to strike him off had been disproportionate, and had given “undue weight to BBC publicity” without taking into account that he was remorseful and had “co-operated fully with police”.

But the court ruled there was “nothing to support” the claim that the GPhC committee had placed "any" weight on the BBC publicity. It highlighted that Mr Rasool had “deliberately flouted the law” and backed the committee's original ruling that Mr Rasool's conduct was "fundamentally incompatible" with remaining on the register.

Pharmacy lawyer Noel Wardle told C+D that the High Court’s decision was “unsurprising” as successful appeals were “rare”. Although there were some cases where taking a fitness-to-practise ruling to appeal “ought to be pursued”, these were “few and far between”, said Mr Wardle, a partner at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP.

“I don’t think the prospects were high for a successful appeal in this case,” he added.


What do you think of the High Court's decision?

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Anthony Cox, Academic pharmacist

Good decision.

Christopher Plail, Community pharmacist

This man is an absolute disgrace to the profession. He should never be allowed back onto the register and banned regards either owning or having anything to with any aspect of pharmacy.

Antonio Lex, Primary care pharmacist

good! People like this are an embarrsement and shame to the profession!

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

'Profession' being a very loose term

Darren Powell, Community pharmacist

I think the appeal was based on the "soundness" of the first judgement, and procedural matters rather than him trying to mitigate his actions. There was no way at appeal they would say that his actions were compatible with a professional. He was hoping to get off on a technicality.

What planet is this guy on if he thinks flogging morphine and diazepam OTC is ok?? His total lack of insight in bringing the appeal suggests that he should not be allowed back on to the register for a long time

Mr CAUSTIC, Community pharmacist

what price was charged for the oramorph? if it was an emergency supply that was forgotten to be entered was it sold at cost plus 50% plus dispensing fee plus vat or was it sold at some extortionate price . the answer to the question i think is vital. also the size of bottle sold. similarly for the diazepam. emergency supplies are a vital aid to patient safety as without that facility patients would come to harm from lack of medication for their condition. . it is good that a national audit is being carried out on emergency supplies. one very worrying thing is the ease people can get drugs from the on line doctors. one of my patients was stopped from taking aciclovir by his gp because he had been taking it for years and his gp was concerned at the possible effect on his body. when i saw him this week i asked him what had happened with his request and he said the gp refused but i got it on line from a dr who had a tie up with a national chain.. perhaps the press would like to investigate this!

Sunil lakhani, Community pharmacist

There were insufficient grounds of appeal, this was a waste of money to bring this matter to Court. Caught on camera selling drugs and struck off, exactly the prudent course of action.

Chris ., Community pharmacist

fantastic news!!!!

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

What judgement did he expect for heavens sake...a thumbs up from the judiciary!?...not :-)

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