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Pharmacist struck off for defrauding NHS of £76k by modifying scripts

The registrant showed remorse and repaid the full amount within a month

A pharmacist in Wales has been struck off the GPhC register for committing fraud against the NHS, claiming £76,475 by modifying over 1,500 prescriptions.

Michael Grant Lloyd – registration number: 2037258 – was sentenced to 16 months in prison for fraud last year (October 22). Mr Lloyd had claimed a higher prescription reimbursement from the NHS than he was due, the General Pharmaceutical Council's (GPhC) fitness-to-practise committee heard at a hearing on September 22 this year.

Mr Lloyd is still serving his sentence. He was accused of amending over 1,500 handwritten prescriptions to show a more expensive form of the medicine than the one that had been dispensed. 

The fraud, taking place while Mr Lloyd ran Talbot Pharmacy in Talbot Green, Wales, included claiming reimbursement for “liquid medicines or dispersible tablets when in fact he actually dispensed a cheaper alternative such as tablets or capsules”.

The regulator heard that Mr Lloyd – who is currently serving his sentence on licence and was neither present nor represented at the hearing – admitted his guilt the second time he was interviewed by the police, that he had “shown remorse” and that he repaid the full amount within a month of the second police interview.

However, the GPhC said it could not be certain that “there is no risk of repetition” of Mr Lloyd's actions and said he “has brought the reputation of the profession into disrepute” with his behaviour.

Moved by greed

At the time of the fraud Mr Lloyd was co-director of Llanharan Pharmacy Ltd – which operates a number of pharmacies in Wales – along with his two brothers, who were not involved in the fraud, the regulator heard.

Concerns about Mr Lloyd’s practice were initially referred to NHS Counter Fraud Service (CFS) Wales in November 2017. The team conducted a local investigation into Mr Lloyd covering April 2014 to January 2018.

It was found that Mr Lloyd had modified more than 1,500 prescriptions, “to the value of £76,475”.

After refusing to comment at a first police interview in January 2018, he admitted to the fraud at a second interview in April 2019, providing a statement in which he showed remorse and committing to repaying the full amount, which he did within a month – using his company’s money.

During his sentencing hearing at Cardiff Crown Court in October last year, the judge said Mr Lloyd’s fraud was “careful and calculated” and that the pharmacist – who was in a position of “great responsibility” – only had one motivation, “and that is greed”, the council heard.

However, the judge acknowledged that Mr Lloyd showed “genuine remorse” and noted “references which are highly praising of you in all aspects of your life”.

The GPhC committee took into consideration the judge’s words but said that this was not an “isolated incident” and it is “likely” that Mr Lloyd would have continued with his conduct “had NHS CFS not investigated the matter”.

Mr Lloyd had “intentionally defrauded the NHS”, the GPhC heard.

The regulator decided to remove Mr Lloyd from the register as it concluded that the public and fellow professionals would find his behaviour “deplorable” and that his removal from the register was necessary in order to “maintain public confidence in the profession”.

The registrant did not appeal the GPhC’s decision and was removed from the register on October 21, a GPhC spokesperson told C+D yesterday (December 3).

Graham Dainty, head of NHS CFS Wales, told C+D yesterday: “The decision by the GPhC to remove Michael [Grant] Lloyd from their professional register reinforces the strong message that fraud against the NHS will not be tolerated.

“Mr Lloyd has had to repay all of the money he defrauded from NHS Wales, he was imprisoned and has now lost his profession as a pharmacist.”

A C+D investigation last year revealed that, between January 1, 2017 and June 30, 2019, only one pharmacy owner was sanctioned for committing fraud.

Read the full GPhC determination here

25 Comments
Question: 
What do you make of the GPhC's decision?

Farmer Cyst, Community pharmacist

Some very naughty pharmacisting for sure.

A LOCUM, Community pharmacist

No where in this article or the determination do the words 'disgrace to the profession' appear ? 16 months means 6 months inside plus 2 months tag , not bad for 76K fraud? 76K divided by 1500 = £50 a script , boy he's a genious !

Leon The Apothecary, Student

However, the GPhC said it could not be certain that “there is no risk of repetition” of Mr Lloyd's actions and said he “has brought the reputation of the profession into disrepute” with his behaviour.

Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

sorry he got caught. They are all at it. 

Ghengis Pharm, Locum pharmacist

Wow ! You must have Pre-reg'd all over the place !!!  -)

s8chy P, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

what do you mean "they are all at it"? 

Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

Read my comment and you will understand....

If not not, get educated 

Leon The Apothecary, Student

That is nothing but a tu quoque. 

Pharm Druggist, Community pharmacist

S8chy P understands you alright, he wants you to be daring and explicitly accuse all contractors of commiting fraud. Try reading his comment. Any need to be that condescending on your high horse?

Never understand how people can tar everyone with the same brush. 

Axed Locum, Locum pharmacist

On the balance of probalilty - Plausible - legalised via specials, and other wise, by formulation switches, over-ordering, short supply !!

Some underpaid and overworked locum probably grassed!!

Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

Good on the locum!! Start paying better and treating them when respect. 

Pharm Druggist, Community pharmacist

Are you implying that if you were a well paid locum, you would have turned a blind eye and not reported?

Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

Karma is a wonderful thing. 
 

People know of the rampant fraud that goes on in pharmacies.  Please read Axed locums comments above. 
 

Some might be "legal" but doesn't make it any less immoral  

please tell me why contractors think they are all hard done by, and all are faultless. 

Pharm Druggist, Community pharmacist

To be honest I did read axed locum's and didn't understand. There's no such thing as "legal fraud", fraud is "bad" by definition. Gaming the system is also fraud. 
I'm picking at why you are implying that paying someone more, would decrease the risk of reporting this? It should have no bearing and should be reported in any case. Unless you blatantly have no morals and are just another sell sword. 
When have I said that about contractors? Strawman argument 

 

 

Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

My point is if you pay people more they will work much harder and you (general) would not have to resort to fraud. 
 

why you being nasty? "Unless you blatantly have no morals and are just another sell sword"

 

Leon The Apothecary, Student

That doesn't make sense, it's logical fallacy. Why would someone be less likely to commit fraud if they were paid more? They are unrelated.

Benie I, Locum pharmacist

No  matter. He'll probably be back on the register within 24 months. The Judge was even feeling sorry for him in his summation.

 

Paul Guest, Manager

You cannot get back on the register after two years if you have been removed.

Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

O yes you can!!

Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

Lol

Dave Downham, Manager

Interesting detail that the incident had to be "referred" to NHS CFS. Raises the question of who did the referring and also effectiveness of NHS CFS is it's methods rely on grasses/snitches/snouts/stool pigeons/other slang from the Sweeney/referees.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

I wonder if one of the employees working there whistleblew on the pharmacist? Or one of the GP surgeries noticing a higher expense in their prescribing? 

Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

Lmfaooo! Comment made me lauagh, got a stitch now. 

PoPeYe- Popeys Car Wash, Community pharmacist

Have now got "Stool Pigeon" by Kid Creole and the Coconuts running in my head, thanks for that! Look it up kids, if you need to.

Dave Downham, Manager

Sorry, PoPeYe. I was just telling the dipenser that I'm not actually her father. Was a bit of a shock to Annie...

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