A pharmacist has been suspended from the register for three months for possession of ecstasy and a class C drug.
Andrzej Marek Bienczak, registration number 2064423, was stopped by police at a music festival in London in May 2013 and found to be carrying ecstasy and solvent gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) heard at a fitness-to-practise hearing on May 29.
The regulator said it was clear Mr Bienczak “bitterly regretted” his actions and noted that he had no previous disciplinary history.
But it stressed that his possession of illegal drugs “even on one occasion” had “clearly brought the profession into disrepute”.
Mr Bienczak, who has worked as a locum in the UK and is currently researching pharmacometrics at the University of Cape Town, attended the As One music festival in Victoria Park, London where he was stopped by police. He said the drugs were for his personal use and reported the incident to the GPhC within seven days, the regulator heard.
He told the hearing that he recognised his actions were “wrong and reprehensible, and I am ashamed of them”. Mr Bienczak stressed he would in future always strive to “be the gatekeeper of drugs, not the misuser”.
"A foolish moment"
The GPhC noted Mr Bienczak’s actions were a “single, isolated incident”, which he referred to as a “foolish moment” he hoped would not ruin his career.
It was to Mr Bienczak’s credit that he had engaged in the fitness-to-practise process and had attended the hearing, flying from Washington to be present, it said. It had also received six testimonials which spoke "very highly" of Mr Bienczak, it added.
But the GPhC said pharmacists were “clearly in a special and onerous position when it comes to the prohibited use of drugs” and stressed those working in the profession should “set an example to the public in the context of drug abuse".
Issuing Mr Bienczak with a warning would not “send out a strong enough message”, while removing him from the register would be “disproportionate”, it said. It ruled to suspend him for three months.
Read the full determination here.