Carla Louise Perkins, registration number 5038690, pleaded guilty to “fraud by abuse of position” on February 20, 2018, at Stafford Crown Court, after she sold up to £5,000 worth of pharmacy items on eBay without her employer’s permission, the General Pharmaceutical Council’s (GPhC) fitness-to-practise committee heard at a hearing on September 2.
The GPhC noted that Ms Perkins had “a previously unblemished history within the profession” and had repaid part of the £1,200 compensation to her employers, after being ordered to do so by the court.
However, she had “abused her position as a trusted pharmacy technician” and her conviction had led to a “loss of public trust and confidence in her”, the committee concluded.
Post office assistant’s investigation
Ms Perkins had been working as a pharmacy technician “for over 10 years” at the unnamed pharmacy, which had a post office counter, the GPhC heard. Her behaviour was first brought to the pharmacy’s attention when in February 2017 a post office assistant “noticed that a package had not been wrapped properly”, and spotted diabetes strips inside.
The assistant searched eBay that evening and discovered that one of the local vendors of those test strips was using the same name Ms Perkins used on social media, the GPhC heard.
The pharmacy conducted its own investigation, but when asked if she was selling items of pharmacy stock on eBay, Ms Perkins denied the accusations.
The matter was later escalated to Staffordshire Police by the pharmacy’s superintendent. When interviewed under caution in April, Ms Perkins again denied the allegations.
She later claimed that she had taken items from the destruction of old pharmaceuticals (DOOP) bin, because she had “permission to do so from her manager so that she could give the items to a dogs’ home”, the GPhC heard.
Ms Perkins admitted the pharmacy was not aware that the items were being sold on eBay.
Her lawyer at the trial claimed that Ms Perkins had made no more than £5,000 from the sale of items – which the GPhC heard included diabetic test strips and lancets.
As part of her sentencing, Stafford Crown Court ordered Ms Perkins to carry out 140 hours of unpaid work, as well as pay the pharmacy £1,200 compensation and a victim surcharge of £85.
The regulator accepted that Ms Perkins had completed the unpaid work in August 2018, and paid £650 back to her employers.
But the GPhC stressed that she had “failed to act with honesty and integrity” and had “breached one of the fundamental tenets of the profession”.
Ms Perkins “had not engaged with [the GPhC’s] proceedings at all” and the committee had no evidence of her “remediation, insight or remorse”. Therefore there is “a risk of repetition”, the committee concluded.
The regulator deemed her conduct “fundamentally incompatible with being a registered member of the pharmacy profession” and decided to remove Ms Perkins from the register.
Read the full determination here.