An Auckland pharmacist, who was last year convicted of fraudulently claiming prescription subsidies of almost $70,000 could be suspended from practising.
Wayne Baker was co-owner of Sandringham Village Pharmacy when he pleaded guilty to 93 fraud charges for claiming prescription subsidies worth $69,070.59 from the Auckland District Health Board. The offending was carried out between June 2006 and June 2009.
Baker had claimed payments from the health board for prescription subsidies for patients who were dead, who did not exist and by creating fictitious "repeats" on prescriptions. He also altered computer entries.
He was sentenced to eight months' home detention in the Auckland District Court last October.
Baker repaid the money as well as an additional $26,743.70 which the pharmacy should not have received.
The Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal said Baker's fraud conviction reflected badly on his fitness to practice as a pharmacist.
Baker is now an employee of the same pharmacy which is now owned by pharmacist David Baird, who owns a 51 per cent share, and Baker's wife, Diana, who owns a 49 per cent share.
Another pharmacist and two technicians have also been employed.
Counsel for Baker, Harry Waalkens QC, said Baker's family, including his three adult children, had been impacted by the proceeding.
Several referees cited by Waalkens said it would be a loss to the community if Baker could no longer practice. He said there was no probability of repeat offending.
In its written submission, the Professional Conduct Committee said there was no question Baker's actions were "deliberate, premeditated and persistent".
The committee said Baker should be suspended from practice for two years, be censured, and ordered to pay costs.
However, Waalkens said a two-year suspension would be "grossly out of step". He submitted a penalty of suspended suspension would be more appropriate.
The tribunal did not deliver its decision.
- NZ Doctor