Pharmacist put people at risk

  • Drug could have caused potential harm
  • Hid stolen drugs in lunchbox
  • Pharmacist admits ‘grave lapse’

A disgraced pharmacist who stole more than £5,000 worth of “body-building” drugs and sold them to a customer without a prescription has been struck off.

Trevor Barnes, 68, worked as a locum pharmacist at Boots’ Battle branch, when he lifted almost 30 packs of Genotropin and “dishonestly” sold them.

Mr Barnes, who lives in Bexhill, said his pension was “not what he had hoped” and distributed the drug - often improperly used to bulk up bodybuilders’ muscles - to “supplement his income”.

The General Pharmaceutical Council’s (GPhC) disciplinary panel said

Barnes’ conduct amounted to “sustained and premediated dishonesty” and ordered his erasure from its register.

Panel chairman, Christopher Gibson QC, said Mr Barnes - who first registered as a pharmacist in 1969 - started the course of “serious misconduct” in January, 2012.

Over the next 15 months, he “stole” 28 packs of the “expensive” drug - a growth hormone often given to diabetes sufferers - on five occasions.

He then charged a London customer £200 a pack, sending through the post without seeing a prescription.

Mr Barnes had “no authority” to remove the drugs, didn’t pay for them, did not label them and kept no record that he’d taken them.

At one point he hid the drugs in a “lunch box” while lifting them from Boots, Mr Gibson said.

His wrongdoing was eventually uncovered by an internal audit.

The pharmacist, initially said he’d believed prescriptions would be “forthcoming” from the customer, claiming he “intended to put the sales of the drugs through the books”.

But he later admitted that “his pension was not what he had hoped it would be” and “that he was doing this to supplement his income”, the chair said.

Mr Gibson said: “We are quite satisfied that Mr Barnes was acting dishonestly.

Mr Gibson said Mr Barnes paid back £4,548 to Boots. However, he still appeared to have made a “profit” of £1,000 from the dodgy venture. There were “obvious dangers” in supplying a drug which is “known to be abused by bodybuilders” without a prescription, with a risk of “potential harm to the public”, the chair added.

Mr Barnes’ conduct was probed by the police but no criminal charges were brought. When he was quizzed by his employers, Mr Barnes admitted he had been “an idiot”.

In a letter, he apologised for “the grave lapse” and said he was “in a state of shock” that he’d made such a huge mistake after more than 40 years in the industry.

He said: “Sadly, I have let many people down, both inside and outside the profession.”

Erasure was suspended for 28 days to allow an appeal.