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.
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