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Canada
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Regina pharmacist suspended after being found guilty of misconduct, incompetence

The licence of a Regina pharmacist has been suspended after he was found guilty by the Saskatchewan College of Pharmacy Professionals for professional misconduct and incompetence.

A discipline committee reviewed 15 allegations against Arthur Woo, the owner and manager of Dewdney Drugs. He was found guilty on 11 of the charges stemming from incidents between 2011 and 2018.

“The failures on behalf of the respondents are putting the public at risk,” the committee’s statement reads.

“[Each] aspect of the respondent’s misconduct leads to patient harm including the apparent gaps in Mr. Woo’s basic knowledge and understanding.”

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Allegations range from operating without a licensed pharmacist, to not properly documenting prescriptions and failure to produce prescriptions during an audit.

Woo was also accused of not having an adequate filing system and overselling over-the-counter codeine products to a patient on suboxone, an opioid replacement therapy.

“It is clear that, as a practicing pharmacist, Mr. Woo failed to demonstrate knowledge and understanding regarding the sale of exempted codeine products and potential for abuse,” the committee said in its decision.

As part of its assessment, the committee was asked to determine whether Mr. Woo met the reasonable standard of practice and competency of a community pharmacist who serves HIV patients.

This question is the result of two separate incidents, including one in 2013 in which Woo is charged with double dosing an HIV patient with efavirenz, which may have exacerbated the patient’s existing renal failure and kidney damage.

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The second involves a patient undergoing HIV triple drug therapy in 2017 to whom Mr. Woo failed to dispense Truvada. The committee heard testimony that, “the absence of Truvada for this extended period meant her virus was untreated and she was a source of infection to others.”

“Despite Truvada ‘fall[ing] off the active list of medications in the EMR records’ …, Mr. Woo failed to make basic inquiries into why triple drug therapy wasn’t being used and, as a result, failed to dispense Truvada to Patient Y.P. for approximately six months,” said the decision.

Woo was found guilty by the committee of both charges.

Woo’s licence has now been suspended until he completes the Pharmacist Qualifying Examination provided by the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada.

If his licence is reinstated, he must practice under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist for 160 hours.

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The proprietor’s permit for Dewdney Drugs is also subjected to a number of conditions, including annual pharmacy inspections for three years. The continued operation of the pharmacy is subjected to the condition that the registrar must approve the license pharmacist who will practice in Woo’s place.

Both Woo and Dewdney Drugs have to pay $42,000 to help cover the cost of the investigations and hearing, within the next six months.

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