August 22, 2019 12:36 pm

Edmonton pharmacist’s licence suspended due to ‘unprofessional conduct’

FILE: In this Aug. 5, 2010 file photo, a pharmacy tech poses for a picture with hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen tablets, the generic version of Vicodin

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File
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An Edmonton pharmacist has been handed $30,000 in fines and had his licence suspended for one year after an investigation into his conduct.

Si Huu Nguyen had his licence as a pharmacist, as well as his licence as a pharmacy operator, suspended by the Alberta College of Pharmacy.

A hearing tribunal for the college found Nguyen guilty of unprofessional conduct with respect to his responsibilities as a pharmacist and as the licensee of the V-Can Pharmacy in Edmonton, a media release from the college said Thursday.

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According to the college, V-Can Pharmacy closed down in December 2018.

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The hearing was held after a third-party insurer alleged Nguyen submitted hundreds of claims — worth more than $100,000 — that could not be supported with corresponding inventory purchase records, the college said.

The college said the insurer also claimed Nguyen failed to cooperate with the insurer’s claims audit. Nguyen was also accused of creating false dispensing records and storing pharmacy records outside of the licensed premises without authorization.

Nguyen was found guilty, with the tribunal concluding his actions harmed the integrity of the profession.

“Creating false records harms the integrity of the profession and is detrimental to the best interests of the public,” the tribunal’s decision read in part.

“Mr. Nguyen’s conduct constitutes clear contraventions of the (Health Professions) Act. An insurer must be able to rely on the accuracy and truthfulness of the information that is submitted by a pharmacist. It is not in the best interests of patient care to upload records into Netcare that were not provided to patients and for which there were no invoices to support them being filled. This was clearly done to the benefit of Mr. Nguyen and to the professional detriment of safe patient care.”

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Nguyen was handed a number of penalties which include:

  • A reprimand
  • A suspension of his practice permit for 12 months
  • $30,000 in fines
  • He may not to be an owner, proprietor, or licensee of a pharmacy for five years
  • Payment of all costs of the investigation and hearing (approximately $56,000)
  • He must provide a copy of the Tribunal’s written decision to the licensee of any pharmacy where he works as a pharmacist for five years
  • He must successfully complete ACP’s Ethics and Jurisprudence exam prior to reinstating as a pharmacist

A copy of the tribunal’s decision was also given to the Alberta minister of Justice an Solicitor General.

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