Calgary pharmacist suspended after submitting $1.5M in fraudulent claims
Ahmed Atique, the owner and operator of a defunct Calgary pharmacy, has been suspended and fined more than $75,000 by the Alberta College of Pharmacy. (File)
CALGARY -- A tribunal has ordered the three-year suspension of a practice permit of a Calgary pharmacist after he was found to have kept improper records, submitted claims for unsafe products and lied to third-party insurers.
The Alberta College of Pharmacy (ACP) found during an audit of a pharmacy owned and operated by Ahmed Atique that he created the potential for patient harm and harmed his own professional integrity.
The panel found Atique submitted $1.5 million worth of claims for health care products without providing invoices from suppliers or creating and retaining accurate pharmacy records
Atique was also found to have:
- Created false claims for health products he did not have in stock
- Purchased and dispensed products that were not safe or proven
- Purchased and dispensed health products dispensed by another pharmacy and then resold to him
- Failed to act ethically or honestly in his dealings with third-party insurers
"Mr. Atique failed to demonstrate the ethical conduct and professional judgment expected and required of an Alberta pharmacist and pharmacy licensee; this failure created the potential for patient harm since product was procured from unverified sources and in cases knowingly, or should have known that, dispensed product was originally provided to other patients," the ACP wrote in its decision on Aug. 10.
"It decreases the public and insurer’s trust in the profession for the reason that Mr. Atique felt it was acceptable to go outside of the standards established precisely in place to protect the public."
As a result, Atique's permit has been suspended for three years, until Aug. 31, 2023, and he must not be an owner, proprietor or licensee of a pharmacy for 10 years.
Once Atique's permit suspension has elapsed, the tribunal ordered that he must successfully complete a number of certified pharmacy courses as well as practice under direct supervision for six months. For an additional six months, the licensee of the pharmacy where he works shall provide reports to the ACP complaints director on a monthly basis.
Atique was also fined $40,000 as well as ordered to pay costs of the investigation and hearing, estimated to be about $37,000.
The ACP added Atique promised to make full restitution of $1.5 million to the third-party insurer.
Atique's business, Nazia Pharmacy in the 6800 block of Temple Drive N.E., closed permanently to the public on June 24, 2019, just as the ACP was completing its investigation.