Edmonton pharmacist's license revoked for experimenting on patients: tribunal

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Provincial pharmacist regulators have revoked an Edmonton pharmacist’s license for experimenting on patients, saying his conduct is “black mark” on the profession, according to a decision released publicly Wednesday.

Pierre Rizk was found guilty of 30 separate allegations of unprofessional conduct and fined $50,000, the maximum amount allowed, plus an estimated $260,000 for the cost of the investigation and hearing by a tribunal for the Alberta College of Pharmacy.

The tribunal said Rizk put patients at risk of serious harm and made decisions about their treatments, sometimes for life-threatening conditions, alone and without working with their doctors.

It said his actions showed a lack of awareness of his limitations and the scope of his practice as a pharmacist, and a lack of respect for other health professionals. The tribunal called the allegations “alarming, frightening and serious.”

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“The Hearing Tribunal condemns Dr. Rizk’s proven conduct in the strongest possible terms. Dr. Rizk abused his additional prescribing authority to experiment on patients with apparent disregard for their well-being. His conduct is a black mark on the profession and harmful in the eyes of the public,” the decision said.

“He seemed to be more interested in experimenting on his patients for his own gratification and this no doubt influenced his decisions not to confer with his patients’ physicians.”

It said he believed he could diagnose his patients with serious health conditions and prescribe them treatment without referring to doctors. When he was questioned about his approach, Rizk refused to acknowledge he did anything wrong.

“He responded instead by impugning the qualifications of the people raising concerns and disparaging them. He appeared to believe that his qualifications were somehow superior to all others including his patients’ physicians, and he maintained these beliefs even when confronted with serious concerns about his patient care,” reads the decision.

The tribunal’s cancellation of Rizk’s registration means his practice permit has been revoked and he is no longer eligible to practise pharmacy in Alberta.

Rizk was given an interim suspension in April 2019 until the tribunal’s process was complete.

More to come…



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