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New Zealand Pharmacist Appeals to Patients After Suspension of License

David W. Hodges
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Partner at Kennedy Hodges LLP practicing pharmacy error, medical malpractice and personal injury law
Posted on Jul 24, 2012

The owner of a New Zealand pharmacy has responded to the suspension of his practicing certificate by appealing to his customers, saying his recent pharmacy malpractice suit had no effect on patient care.

Ravi Vohora, owner of Maori Hill Pharmacy inDunedin, was found to be in violation of failing to keep a controlled drug register for over four years, and neglecting to document standard operating procedures for the last decade.

The Health Practitioners' Disciplinary Tribunal found Vohora guilty of malpractice, which the High Court upheld.  Although the Justice in the case said that there was no evidence that the oversights caused patient harm, Vohora was sentenced with a six-month suspension of his pharmaceutical practicing certificate. 

Vohora vehemently protested the decision, including writing a letter to his customers to apologize for breaking pharmacy rules. He also explained to his customers that the part of the pharmacy code that he was guilty of violating had already been changed, and that the lack of official paperwork had no bearing on his ability to accurately dispense medications.

"A matter of more concern to me was that these recommendations departed from customary practice to such an extent they were actually contrary to the legal requirements relating to pharmacists' duty of care to their patients," Vohora said.

Vohora was not alone in protesting the changes to the pharmacy code. Records show that over60 pharmacists resisted the changes, but many backed down under pressure from regulators.

The pharmacy standards that Vohora violated were removed from the pharmacy code of ethics in 2010, but the authorities were still able to press charges--a move that Vohora calls “an abuse of power”.

Vohora reports receiving a positive response to his statement from both customers and a small number of doctors. Vohora plans to appeal the High Court decision.

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