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'Moment of madness' ends 53-year career

The regulator ruled that Denis George Mallalieu, registration number 2011520, was unable to accept he was wrong in  a "sad culmination to a very long and no doubt distinguished career"

Denis George Mallalieu, registration number 2011520, was struck off for posing as a pharmacy inspector in what the regulator deemed a “sad culmination to a very long and no doubt distinguished career”

A pharmacist with 53 years' experience has been struck off the professional register for posing as a pharmacy inspector in a "moment of madness".

Denis George Mallalieu, registration number 2011520, spent 40 minutes conducting a bogus inspection of a pharmacy after finding out there was no responsible pharmacist present, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) heard at a nine-day fitness-to-practise hearing ending on July 11.

Mr Mallalieu admitted to making enquiries about the pharmacy but denied posing as an inspector. The GPhC accepted that Mr Mallalieu had enjoyed a "long and no doubt distinguished career" and was of good character, but branded his evidence inconsistent and rejected his claims there had been a conspiracy against him. 

Mr Mallalieu entered Hale Barns Pharmacy in Altrincham, Cheshire, at around 9.20pm in April 2011 to fill a prescription. He found there was no responsible pharmacist present so the prescription could not be dispensed.

The trainee dispenser on duty said Mr Mallalieu then said the prescription was a test purchase. He said he pretended to be an inspector – walking around the retail area, asking about the dispenser's qualifications and making notes. He also asked to enter the dispensary and see the controlled drugs register, the GPhC heard, although this was denied by Mr Mallalieu.

Mr Mallalieu refused to provide identification and the dispenser was in "two minds" as to whether he was a genuine inspector, the GPhC heard. But the dispenser was nonetheless concerned and made a "high volume of calls" to the pharmacist and the pharmacy's owner during the 40-minute bogus inspection.

The next day, Mr Mallalieu contacted the PCT to complain that there had been no pharmacist present at the pharmacy. On the same morning, the pharmacy's owner also contacted the PCT to report that the pharmacy had not fulfilled its contractual hours the previous day due to its pharmacist being ill.

Four days later, the PCT was sent a screenshot of the man who had carried out an inspection of the pharmacy. A PCT employee recognised the individual as Mr Mallalieu and informed the GPhC that he was not an inspector.

Mr Mallalieu admitted to looking around the pharmacy, asking to see the responsible pharmacist notice and making notes, but denied this was done under the guise of an inspector. He claimed his pharmaceutical knowledge could have "intimidated" the dispenser and led him to believe Mr Mallalieu was an inspector.

Mr Mallalieu said the pharmacy owner and pharmacist were worried about failing to meet their contractual obligations and had formed a "conspiracy" against him. But the GPhC decided there was "no evidence whatsoever" to support this view.

It also pointed out that Mr Mallalieu's version of events had "wavered over time". He had initially told the GPhC he visited the pharmacy due to complaints from patients, but later gave the impression it was a "spur-of-the-moment thing", the GPhC noted. 

The GPhC accepted that Mr Mallalieu was highly regarded by friends and colleagues and stressed that it did not underestimate his commitment to the profession. But it found his evidence was inconsistent and said he had an "ostensible" lack of insight or remorse.

Mr Mallalieu said he had no intention of practising again as a pharmacist and withdrew from the process once his fitness-to-practise was found to be impaired. 

The GPhC concluded that Mr Mallalieu had acted on "a desire to play detective" when he realised there was no pharmacist on duty. The regulator expressed concerns that he was unable to accept he was wrong and ruled to strike him off the register, in what it deemed a "sad culmination to a very long and no doubt distinguished career".

Read the full determination here.

What do you make of the ruling?

We want to hear your views, but please express them in the spirit of a constructive, professional debate. For more information about what this means, please click here to see our community principles and information

R A, Community pharmacist

I think the man was an idiot and should have been told that he would be suspended from the register for an interim period and then allowed back. Cases like this really worries me about the clemency of the GPhC?

Muhammad Luqman Qadir, Superintendent Pharmacist

Gpc oncea again shows no compassion and is far too over the top in its 'punishment'. Maybe what he did was wrong but removing him from register is too harsh as he didnt harm and patients or steal anything. also it suggests that all the past 53 years he practiced were a waste and he wasnt fit to be pharmacist. they should have forced him to retire from register instead. Interestingly other pharmacists on here seem to think they dont make mistakes and usually agree with gpc harsh decisions - until its their neck on the line. how did we ever get into such a weak position ? GPC are not helping anyone but themselves imho

Pharmacist Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Maybe it was on his list of things to do before he retires, to get convicted and in trouble

Halal Butcher, Academic pharmacist

The GPhC and large multiples don't always win. Remember the time when one of the Area Managers for Coop tried to shaft a Pharmacy Manager re: MURs. The Area Manager got hammered at the hearing and the Pharmacist went away with a clean slate.

Chris Locum, Locum pharmacist

He should have been asked to resign and stand down - no more.

Think twice about doing the right thing, your intentions and actions are open to misinterpretation as can be seen here. We should remember the fact no pharmacist was on hand when he visited. He should have left the premises without discussion and just contacted PCT next day.

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

The mind boggles!? Life is hard enough!

It beats me why anyone would want to be a pharmacist for 53 years.

A.S. Singh, Community pharmacist

funny individual - although I have no doubt that your local 100 hour pharmacy does this from time to time, as well as closing early or opening later than contractual hours.

Paul Summerfield, Community pharmacist

Read the determination which is on the GPhC website. Look at why the committee determined why removal was the only sanction that was available.

Once you have read that, then comment.

Middle Way, Community pharmacist

Paul, I'll say this more clearly. The GPhC blatantly lie...cough cough...come to incorrect conclusions at times. This has been seen many times especially where big employers are under scrutiny. In those cases where they came up with bogus determinations they wrote nice pieces 'detailing' their evidence. It always sounds nice when you read their version.

My counter advice to you Paul is to attend a hearing one day, for somehing nice and controvertial (e.g. Boots vs an ex-employee) and then YOU can tell us what you think.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Well Paul,

I have read the full text of both this case and the case involving the child cruelty. Now you tell me should we be trusting all that is written/ said in the FtP determinations?

If YES, then I suggest you read the High court judgement on the Child Cruelty case !!

Paul Summerfield, Community pharmacist

Already read it.

Have you read the Court of Session case - Khan V GPhC

The point is that the determination gives the rational behind the decision. It is important to read it before commenting on such matters. You may agree with it, you may disagree. If the registrant disagrees, there is always the option to appeal to the relevant court. If the PSA disagree, then they can appeal the decision.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

""You may agree with it, you may disagree.""

So what's your problem if someone is commenting on this case? I am sure people are educated enough to come to this forum to comment. Hence, I presume they have read the content and given their opinion, which "You may agree with it, you may disagree."

Are you in case an interested party in this case? as you are supporting this particular case in favour of the FtP than on any other case before?

Phantom Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

I'm just waiting to see what the GPhC have to say about Kenny Black MD of Rowlands and his Undercover Boss TV debut when he poses as a pharmacist but uses a different name than his own! He even makes a dispensing error whilst working! Stay tuned! lol

Caroline Page, Superintendent Pharmacist

So let me get this straight, be a busy-body and try to pull up a pharmacy on possibly breaking regulations and get struck off, but sell POMs illegally and get suspended...?
Don't get me wrong, I don't agree with his actions, there are MUCH better ways to act on concerns you have with a pharmacy, but I'm not sure the sentence fits the crime here...

M Yang, Community pharmacist

Mr Mallalieu did act beyond his authority, but in all likelihood he did it out of a mix of wanting to do good for the profession and being a busy body. While his removal from the register probably hasn't fazed him financially, the GPhC should have accorded him the respect due to a pharmacist who has practiced for so long and given so much to the profession and society. A suspension would have been more appropriate, which Mr Mallalieu could interpret as an honorable way of saying "please leave your pharmacist days behind you."

Mohammed Patel, Community pharmacist

Could he not just have signed in as RP and dispensed his own prescription?

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

That would have lead to him being tried for criminal offence !!! Signing in as a RP without the permission of the pharmacy Owner :-D

Rajive Patel, Community pharmacist

What a strange man. Perhaps he needs to get some mental health counseling.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

1. What he did was wrong.

2. What the owner + Pharmacist (supposed to be ill) + PCT did also is wrong.

3. He should have rather done is to call the PCT from the Pharmacy and report as well as call the GPhC then and there and report, if the intention was to expose the pharmacy being open without a RP.

4. If he had followed the step 3 and then got this sanction, then there was clear case of conspiracy from the deadly combination of a Owner + PCT + GPhC against a highly regarded pharmacist for complaining against the bad practices followed by many pharmacies, where there is no RP yet the pharmacy open for business as usual.

He could have retired as hero, instead gone down the record as being struck off. 53 years of service all down the drain.

Middle Way, Community pharmacist

Its interesting how quick we are to overlook the GPhCs track record of coming to bogus conclusions. Here it seems the pharmacy could easily have been messing was RP regs as so many do these days and simply had a pharmacist absent for long hours without cause. Why did it remain open if the pharmacist was ill beyond the 2 hour mark? Were they responsible during that 2 hours? Why did the dispenser not mention it to the 'inspector' as he allegedly claimed to be? The whole thing sounds dodgy. It sounds like the pharmacy owner quickly covered their tracks he next day and played the 'attack before you are attacked card'. This is also supposition but I simply no longer believe anyhing the GPhC ftp committee say or do anymore. They are not looking out for the profession and simply waste all of our money. We need somebody to regulate them and their laughable determinations.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Correct me if I am wrong, the 2 hour absence is based on clinical grounds and not personal ground, right?

It is a complete cover-up by the Pharmacy, whose Owner might have had a healthy relations with the earstwhile PCT. And in those days the PCTs were always hand in hand with the Pharmacy owners I was told, don't know the truth. I am yet to come across any solid case where the PCT or the GPhC have nailed big Owners for their slack in following the regulations.

If you read the full transcript, it goes like a alfred hitchcok movie and the conspiracy cannot be ruled out, but for the foolishness of the man.

And the GPhC FtP (which is not Fit for the Purpose) took over 3 years (14 April 2011 -- 10 July 2014) to nail the old man, laughable indeed.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

At least one revelation made in this case is a bit surprising

"""" The General Pharmaceutical Council is not concerned with the contractual
arrangements for 100 hours pharmacies,""""

Wooohooo 100hr pharmacies !!

M Yang, Community pharmacist

It is a shame. However, by that point in his career, I assume Mr Mallalieu (who is likely in his 70s) has more than enough in retirement, personal savings and investments to live comfortably? I'm not dismissing his actions as inconsequential. He won't be able to use the title of pharmacist, but financially it's probably not a big deal to him.

Halal Butcher, Academic pharmacist

I agree with Yang. His 53 years of service are not down the drain at all. The OAP has made his ££s. He was just being a nosy idiot and "know it all" trying to show his authority.

He would've retired and removed himself from the Reg anyway coz who'd want to stay on it at that age if you're not practicing?

Rajive Patel, Community pharmacist

"a desire to play detective" - As if being a pharmacist wasn't an exciting life enough ;)

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