BC pharmacist on hook $15,000 for not giving Tang with opioids | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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BC pharmacist on hook $15,000 for not giving Tang with opioids

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A B.C. pharmacist who let a colleague take their opioid treatment in water instead of Tang is on the hook for $15,000.

According to an April 27 College of Pharmacists of BC decision, Nanaimo pharmacist Farah Shafikali Kassam hired a former client who had a prescription for an Opioid Agonist Treatment.

The decision says Kassam gave the client a job and allowed her "special treatment" when it came to her opioid prescription.

While the client worked at the pharmacy, she allowed the unnamed employee to have her opioid treatment in water instead of the sugary soft drink Tang.

This goes against opioid treatment dispensing guidelines and went on for about one year.

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The medical records were also recorded inaccurately because they continued to record that the opioid had been dispensed with Tang when it had not.

Somewhere along the way, Kassam fired the employee who then complained to the regulator about what had been happening.

While Kassam signed a consent agreement with the regulator and admitted to what had gone on, she said the employee had only reported her in "retaliation" for being fired.

She said she'd been taken advantage of and "set up" by the employee.

The College said in no way was this a mitigating factor and regardless she'd failed to comply with the legislative and ethical standards required.

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"The hiring of the complainant, who continued to be a patient, created a dual relationship and the potential for ethical concerns," the decision reads.

Separately, the regulator also found that the pharmacist had "increased a privacy risk" by letting the employee take home confidential personal health records of patients so so she could work at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The College considered that (Kassam) fundamentally failed to meet legislative requirements, exercise appropriate professional judgment, uphold ethical responsibilities, or fulfil her role as a pharmacy manager and registrant of the College," the regulator says.

The College issued Kassam a $5,000 fine plus $10,000 in costs. She will also have to take an opioid addiction treatment support program and write a summary "of substantive quality" as to what went on and what changes have been made in her practice in light of the investigation.

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She will also not be able to act as a pharmacy manager for one year or take on any students.

— This story was corrected at 10:48 a.m. Thursday, May 11, 2023, to clarify that Kassam did not allow the unnamed employee to fill her own opioid prescription.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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