A B.C. College of Pharmacists order restricts Sunrise Pharmacy on Main Street from dispensing any narcotic or controlled drug substance intended for opioid agonist treatment. (Western News File)

A B.C. College of Pharmacists order restricts Sunrise Pharmacy on Main Street from dispensing any narcotic or controlled drug substance intended for opioid agonist treatment. (Western News File)

South Okanagan pharmacist receives $20,000 fine and three-month suspension

Joelle Mbamy will be required to retake several courses before being allowed to dispensing medicine

The BC College of Pharmacists (CPBC) has issued a $20,000 fine and three-month suspension to a Penticton Pharmacist.

The punishment is the latest result of a series of investigations into Joelle Mbamy’s Sunrise Pharmacy.

Mbamy has also been given an 18-month ban on dispensing narcotics or controlled drug substances, compounding any medication, prospering or dispensing any medication intended for intravenous administration and she will be required to retake several courses before the ban can be lifted.

The college launched the investigations based on complaints it had received, including a complaint stemming from the 2017 overdose death of a 15-year-old employee of the pharmacy.

The teen was found unresponsive in his home, and it was later determined he died of acute drug toxicity in a methadone overdose.

READ MORE: Disciplinary hearing date set for Sunrise Pharmacy in Penticton

The March 2018 investigation by the college, found that the employee was allowed to be in the dispensary and medicine compounding rooms without supervision on 13 separate occasions based on a review of security camera footage. The college noted that while the minor had access to prescription drugs during these times, there was no evidence that he obtained the methadone, he had overdosed on, from the pharmacy.

In November 2018, the college conducted an inspection of Sunrise Pharmacy, where they found multiple Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice violations including a lack of documentation, backdating documentation in a way that did not match the dispensing date, storage of drugs and expired drugs together and preparing an intravenous solution in an unsanitary and non-sterile environment without taking precautions to avoid contamination.

The inspection and findings came after Mbamy had entered into a consent agreement with the college in May 2018, regarding a previous complaint and investigation. The inspection found that she breached several terms of that agreement which the college found “demonstrated a disregard for the fundamentals of pharmacy practice and the CPBC’s regulatory process. More importantly, it presented a significant risk to the public.”

The college launched a separate investigation into a complaint filed in July 2019, which found that when the pharmacy had closed for four Sundays in June 2019, Mbamy had changed the dispensing schedule of four different methadone prescriptions to avoid the closure, and had altered a prescription and began dispensing methadone without obtaining a corrected prescription from the physician.

The Western News previously reported that the college had uncovered Mbamy had been dispensing medication without a prescription, dispensed methadone for maintenance before completing the mandatory training, provided unauthorized carries of methadone and Suboxone and dispensed medication from the premises during a time when the pharmacy license was expired.

READ MORE: Penticton pharmacist denies wrongdoing in overdose death of employee

In May 2019, Mbamy received a citation from the college following that investigation which restricted her from dispensing any narcotic or controlled drug substance and from compounding and preparing or dispensing any medication intended for intravenous administration starting on June 7, 2019, an action which was considered by the Inquiry Committee to be necessary to protect the public.

In the outcome published by the college, Mbamy “repeatedly contravened sections of the [Health Professions Act] HPA, [Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act]P ODSA Bylaws, Community Pharmacy Standards of Practice, and the Code of Ethics in her practice as a pharmacist, pharmacy manager, owner and director, and thereby, neglected her basic duties as a pharmacist, and committed or allowed actions that were unethical and could potentially endanger patient health. The totality of her conduct demonstrated an egregious breach of trust and undermines the integrity of the profession.”

Mbamy also once faced other charges not related to the pharmacy.

In 2018, she had pleaded guilty to one charge of animal cruelty and received a $1,000 fine and a 10-year prohibition on owning animals.

~With files from Robin Grant and Jordyn Thompson

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


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