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Pharmacist suspended for using false scripts to sell on in-demand drugs

Fitness to practise Superintendent pharmacist Rajnish Singh Baxi, registration number 2049754, has been suspended for 12 months after using false prescriptions to help him sell on drugs for financial gain.

Superintendent pharmacist Rajnish Singh Baxi, registration number 2049754, has been suspended from the professional register for 12 months for using false prescriptions to help him sell on drugs for financial gain.

Mr Baxi submitted false prescriptions for drugs prone to shortages in an effort to bypass Novartis's stock control system, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) heard at a fitness-to-practise hearing on July 8.

The GPhC accepted that Mr Baxi had expressed genuine remorse and had admitted to the offences in full, but stressed that the forgery was a "deplorable" abuse of his position.

The GPhC heard that Rajnish Singh Baxi, registration number 2049754, would "never dream" of repeating his actions

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Novartis first became suspicious of Mr Baxi's behaviour in April 2011, when it received two anonymised prescriptions with the same unique serial number from Leyton Green Pharmacy, London, where he was superintendent. The prescriptions were for two different drugs, Tobi Nebuliser and Sandostatin.

Four months later, Novartis spotted a similar pattern when Mr Baxi submitted two prescriptions with the same serial number for different doses of Glivec, one for 100mg and another for 400mg. Mr Baxi held a wholesaler's licence, which permitted him to sell drugs to other wholesalers and retail pharmacies.

Novartis called Mr Baxi and recorded the conversation, during which he claimed he had submitted a prescription for Glivec 400mg but Novartis had wrongly supplied the 100mg dose.

When the GPhC investigated the allegations, Mr Baxi told the inspector there had been a "mix-up" with the orders.

But Mr Baxi later admitted he had dishonestly tried to acquire the medicines for material gain and acknowledged that the public would be "disgusted" by his behaviour. Mr Baxi said he was wrong to put business ahead of his ethics and said he would "never dream" of repeating his actions.

Although his fitness-to-practise had previously been called into question – Mr Baxi was convicted of drink driving in 2007 and received a caution for theft in 2009 – he said he had matured since the birth of his child this year. Mr Baxi told the committee he had high morals and was a "hard-working pharmacist" who loved working in the profession and looking after his patients.

The GPhC noted that Mr Baxi had expressed "significant shame and embarrassment" and had voluntarily removed himself from practice pending the hearing. It also ruled that any potential patient harm as a result of Mr Baxi ordering the drugs was "too indirect to be laid at his door".

But it stressed that his actions demanded a serious sanction. The GPhC said it would be easy to take a superficial overview of the facts and remove Mr Baxi from the register, but decided there was "just enough mitigation in this case to tip the very fine balance in favour of suspension".

The regulator gave Mr Baxi a 12-month suspension with a review hearing at the end of the period, when he would need to demonstrate he had reflected on his misconduct and maintained his pharmaceutical knowledge.

Read the full case here.

What do you make of the GPhC's ruling?

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Ahmed :-), Community pharmacist

WOW!!! The GPhC didnt remove him from the register??!! WOW!!! I've heard it all now!!! Unbelievable!
"just enough mitigation in this case to tip the very fine balance in favour of suspension"???!!!
Been qualified for three years and I am increasingly shocked and saddened by events in pharmacy.

Jennifer Richardson, Editorial

So many fitness-to-practise cases seem to prompt similar outrage or just plain confusion among C+D readers about the harshness or otherwise of the sanction... so we have done an analysis of the 2012-13 public hearings to try to find out more about what determines the outcome. The answer's by no means cut and dried but it does show some themes/trends/insight. Look out for it in next week's issue of C+D (Junly 27) and on the website next week.

David Moore, Locum pharmacist

Junly 27th? Is that the day after the 12th of never?

I'll get back to work!!

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

He must be desperate!

Reeyah H, Community pharmacist

I'm very confused. A pharmacist who has a record for drink driving, theft, and now the ultimate deception, gets a suspension?! Yet the pharmacist who signed the backs of scripts for no gain himself, got struck off?

Who on earth is sitting on these panels??!

David Moore, Locum pharmacist

12 months suspension, isn't that what Tim Nash got last week for falsifying his MUR figures? Both equally guilty? I think not.

Stephen Eggleston, Community pharmacist

I have to agree with both Mike Harvey & Ben Merriman - here is a pharmacist who has been known to Stat Comm on two previous occassions - surely this was a case of 3 strikes and you're out! Especially when compared to signing the backs of prescriptions. That was not for personal gain, more a mis-guided attempt to help patients. This was absolutely a decietful practice to obtain difficult to get drugs to export for his own personal gain. Was any money made from this wholesaling at leats offered to the pharmacists benevolen fund or other charity, or has this liar (or have I misunderstood what the word for obtaining goods by giving false informaton is?) pocketed that cash and now goes on his merry way?
Time for the GPhC to justify why the two cases cited have such different punishments

Marc Brooks, Community pharmacist

It is ridiculous that a pharmacist was struck off for filling in exemptions on behalf of patients to no financial gain for himself.. Yet here there is only a suspension!

It just doesnt make sense.

mike harvey, Community pharmacist

this seems a light sentence for such bad behaving- I would not want to deal with this pharmacist ever again. Good on Novartis recording conversations !

Ben Merriman, Community pharmacist

Yet signing exemption declarations to aid patients yields removal from the register...

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