Pharmacist Michael Lloyd was removed from the General Pharmaceutical Council Register (GPhC) on 22nd September 2020. This action was taken following a disciplinary hearing undertaken by the GPhC’s fitness to practise committee.
The GPhC had been informed that Lloyd was sentenced to 16 months’ imprisonment at Cardiff Crown Court on 22nd October 2019. Lloyd had pleaded guilty to offences of fraud after being caught submitting false claims to the NHS.
Lloyd former co-director of Llanharan Pharmacy Ltd falsely claimed that he had dispensed more expensive items than the items that were provided to the patients. Lloyd made the false claims from the Pharmacy he managed at Talbot Pharmacy at Heol Y Gyfraith, Talbot Green, Rhondda Cynon Taf. Llanharan Pharmacy Ltd has four other branches in operation that were not linked to the offences committed by Lloyd.
NHS Counter Fraud Service Wales (NHS CFS Wales) investigated the case after concerns were raised by Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board (CTMUHB). CFS Wales established that Lloyd had falsely claimed over 1,500 prescriptions during a 5 year period. The total loss to the NHS was calculated to be £76,475.
Investigations revealed that Lloyd falsely claimed he had dispensed medicines in liquid form to NHS patients when they had in fact received tablets. Drugs for dementia such as Memantine and Donepezil, cost the NHS as little as £3 per prescription in tablet form. However, Lloyd would claim for the more expensive liquid formulation, which sometimes cost the NHS as much as £300 per prescription.
Lloyd had often altered the prescription forms after they had already been endorsed by staff, with the medication that had genuinely been provided to the patients. The evidence showed that Lloyd had crossed out genuine entries and then recorded more expensive items such as liquids, dissolvable and dispersible tablets.
The prescriptions had originated from handwritten prescriptions issued by either hospital doctors at the nearby Royal Glamorgan Hospital or community dental practitioners. There were no issues with the medication provided to the patients and they were always issued with the correct medication that had been prescribed.
The NHS Counter Fraud Authority (NHSCFA) Forensic Computing Unit (FCU) assisted the investigation by obtaining a forensic image of Talbot Pharmacy’s computer systems. NHS CFS Wales also worked closely with the Pharmacy Team at CTMUHB, who assisted by helping to identify the prescriptions which were falsely claimed.
NHS CFS Wales analysed the prescriptions against the Talbot Pharmacy’s computer systems. The analysis helped to prove that Lloyd had provided different medication than what had been claimed. NHS CFS Wales also obtained the packaging from several patients as evidence that the cheaper drugs had been provided.
Mark Weston NHS CFS Wales investigator said
“Pharmaceutical practitioners work in a key position of trust. Michael Lloyd abused his position as a pharmacist to deliberately defraud NHS Wales over an extended period of time. A dishonest minority are harming the reputation of the honest majority of pharmaceutical practitioners. This case shows that fraud will not be tolerated in NHS Wales and that suitable criminal, civil and disciplinary sanctions will always be pursued when appropriate".
Any suspicion of fraud against the NHS should be reported to the NHS Fraud and Corruption Report Line via NHSCFA’s main website or by telephone on 0800 028 4060. Wherever appropriate, it will be investigated and prosecuted.