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Edmonton pharmacy owner fined $50K for conduct that ‘undermines integrity of the profession’

A file photo of the logo for the Alberta College of Pharmacy. CREDIT: https://abpharmacy.ca/

Two months after the owner of a central Edmonton pharmacy was found to have behaved improperly, by, among other things, creating false dispensing records and dispensing drugs when not being authorized to do so, the Alberta College of Pharmacy fined her and gave her a 10-year ban on owning a pharmacy.

A hearing tribunal’s sentencing decision, signed on April 4, ordered Shereen Elbayomy to pay $50,000 in fines as well as the cost of investigating her conduct and for the hearing.

In January, the college found Elbayomy guilty of unprofessional conduct on various occasions between Jan. 30, 2015 and Feb. 28, 2017. During that time, Elbayomy was both a licensed Alberta pharmacist and the licensee of Metro Pharmacy on 97 Street near 106 Avenue.

The college found she submitted nearly $300,000 worth of claims for nutritional supplements without being able to provide the required supporting invoices. It also found she created false dispensing records when submitting claims for a number of products when Metro Pharmacy did not have the corresponding stock for those products to have been dispensed to patients.

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The college also found Elbayomy dispensed drugs for about 13 prescriptions “in excess of the quantity authorized by the prescriber.” The regulatory body also found she dispensed drugs on several occasions that weren’t the drug authorized by the prescription.

Elbayomy was also found to have not co-operated with the college’s investigation looking into her conduct.

The hearing tribunal said that the sanctions issued against Elbayomy “are reasonable and appropriate.”

“They serve the objectives of protecting the public, ensuring the integrity of the profession and serving both as a general and specific deterrent,” it said.

In this case, the hearing tribunal said it found “all allegations are very serious” with regard to Elbayomy’s conduct.

“The submission of false claims seriously undermines the integrity of the profession, with respect to patients and stakeholders, such as Alberta Blue Cross,” the hearing tribunal said. “There is no justification for this conduct and Ms. Elbayomy clearly profited from such conduct, to the detriment of the profession and various stakeholders, including the public generally.

“The creation of false dispensing records is also very serious. While there is no evidence of actual patient harm, there is the potential for patient harm if another health professional relies on the
information in the patient’s local or NetCare record.

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“The failure to co-operate in the investigation is another element that is of very serious concern,” the hearing tribunal said. “Membership in a self-regulated profession is a privilege and not a right.

“The privilege comes with a corresponding responsibility and obligation to co-operate in the investigation of complaints and to respond to the college when requested or required to do so.

“Ms. Elbayomy completely shut off all contact with the college and has made it impossible for the college to reach her. By doing so, she cannot be held accountable for her conduct. This seriously undermines the ability of the college to regulate its members.”

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