Limerick pharmacy sold veterinary medicine without prescriptions

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The Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland said that the Limerick pharmacy has since complied with all regulations

A LIMERICK city pharmacy has been fined for failing to keep proper records over the issue of veterinary medicines.

A director for Widdess Fitzgibbon Pharmacy on Roches Street appeared at Limerick District Court after compliance regulators with the Pharmacy Society of Ireland (PSI) found a number of discrepancies in its record keeping and dispensing procedures.

Niall Whelan BL, acting on instructions from the PSI, said that the matters came to light following a routine inspection of the Limerick pharmacy in December 2014.

PSI regulation officer Ruth McDonald, said she met with pharmacist and company director Marian Fitzgibbon on December 12, 2014 during an unannounced visit.

After checking the pharmacy’s general medicine records, Ms McDonald noticed that there was a large volume of veterinary remedies being sold and stock levels were noticeably high.

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Ms Fitzgibbon told her that a notebook was kept to track the movements of animal medicines. However the required information was not adequately recorded in the notebook.

It transpired that no official details were kept on the computer till reports and medicines were often dispensed without a prescription.

Ms Fitzgibbon said she would get the prescriptions some two weeks later when a vet would provide them retrospectively.

Ms McDonald also told the court that syringe packs of double antibiotic mastitis medicine had been re-labeled and was being sold as “eye and ear ointment for small domestic animals like cats and dogs”.

This was against PSI regulations as the Widdess Fitzgibbon labels did not record ingredients nor the official medicine number.

In the two weeks prior to the PSI audit, t55 of these single dose units were sold without prescriptions and Ms McDonald said the pharmacy was also in breach of a number of regulations regarding record keeping.

Three summons for multiple offences were issued against the company.

Ms Fitzgibbon was said to be fully cooperative and outlined the full workings of the pharmacy, which was established in 1908, to her regulating society and has since been fully compliant.

Judge Marian O’Leary said that as Ms Fitzgibbon had taken over the running of the pharmacy in 2008, “she should have known what the regulations were as she had not long qualified as a pharmacist.

Defence Counsel Suzanne Mullally asked the court be as lenient as possible as the company and its directors would be “sanctioned in another medium”.

Judge O’Leary convicted and fined the company €500 on each of the three summonses and ordered that a €3,000 contribution be made towards legal costs.