Rehan Ullah, registration number 2057170, has been struck off the register by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) for attempting to steal £540 worth of prescription drugs from a Tesco branch in Beeston, Nottinghamshire.
Mr Ullah took two bags of unlabelled drugs including Keppra, Cipralex and Erythrocin from the pharmacy before being stopped by the branch's security manager.
Mr Ullah claimed the tablets were for family members, but the GPhC fitness to practise committee dismissed parts of his testimonial as "implausible" and ruled to remove him from the pharmacy register.
The GPhC struck Mr Ullah off the register after he was caught attempting to steal £540 worth of drugs from a Tesco at which he was working as a locum
More fitness to practise cases
Mr Ullah worked at Tesco as a locum and aroused the suspicions of a trainee dispenser on May 12, 2011, when she saw him put "two large pharmacy bags" of medication next to his personal belongings. The trainee saw the medication was unlabelled and alerted her pharmacy manager to the problem, the committee heard.
As Mr Ullah attempted to leave the pharmacy, he was challenged by the branch's security manager, who asked to search his belongings. The security manager then asked Mr Ullah to accompany him to the storeroom, when Mr Ullah asked if he could leave the bag of medication outside.
In his evidence, the security manager said he believed Mr Ullah was "trying to disassociate himself from the bag", and noted that the pharmacist's hands were shaking when he asked for receipts for the unlabelled medication. Mr Ullah claimed that he had been too "lazy" to label the medication and said he planned to pay for the items when he got in the next day.
When the security manager asked to look inside the bags of medication, Mr Ullah refused and said they were "covered by data protection" as they were prescriptions for someone other than himself. Mr Ullah then offered to put the drugs back on the shelves but was told to leave them in the bags in the dispensary.
The next day, Mr Ullah was asked to bring in the prescription forms for the drugs he had attempted to take. The pharmacy manager was "pretty sure" Mr Ullah had said to him that he had already taken the forms to another pharmacy to be dispensed. But the regional pharmacy manager did not believe Mr Ullah's claims, questioning whether he would have paid for the prescriptions the next day, and dismissed him from his locum work as well as blacklisting him. Mr Ullah also lost his permanent job at Asda as a result.
When the police interviewed Mr Ullah about the incident two weeks later, he stood by his claims that the medication was intended for his family. Mr Ullah also produced three private prescriptions for the drugs issued by his brother, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon. The prescriptions were dated May 10.
But the GPhC fitness to practise committee questioned whether these prescriptions had existed when Mr Ullah attempted to take the drugs from Tesco. It noted that he had given two different reasons for not bringing in the prescriptions to Tesco the next day – telling the manager he had taken them to another pharmacy, but later testifying that he was unable to bring them because they were in a car he was selling. "It may have been that the prescriptions were written later to match the drugs that had been found on Mr Ullah," the committee suggested.
It also pointed out inconsistencies in Mr Ullah's claims that the drugs were for his family. Although he told the pharmacy manager the prescriptions were for his uncle, he told the regulator the Keppra tablets were for his father, despite him having no history of epilepsy.
The GPhC fitness to practise committee said it was "not impressed" by Mr Ullah's evidence and ruled that he was guilty of taking medication without a valid prescription. It also expressed "grave doubts" that Mr Ullah took the drugs for a genuine patient need.
The committee concluded Mr Ullah had been dishonest and lacked "any sort of insight" into his actions, ruling to strike him off the register with immediate effect.
Do you agree with the GPhC's ruling?