A WELL-KNOWN Hunter pharmacist, who repeatedly supplied steroids to an Australian representative bodybuilder, has been banned from practising for at least another year.
Phillip Lawrence Slater had a financial stake in five Hunter chemists when he was caught by police in April 2016 with testosterone, human growth hormone and phentermine, labelled 'Rocket Caps', in his car.
Along with the drugs, police found a handwritten note titled 'Order 4' which comprised a list of the substances, quantities, and corresponding figures that were later conceded to be prices.
Several months later, police raided Slater's Lorn home and found medication, in the name of two of his patients, that he admitted taking "as a stimulant to assist him with work and study".
They also found testosterone in his car that was parked outside a pharmacy at Rutherford.
A NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) hearing last week heard that Slater "downplayed and minimised" his conduct, referencing "the small quantities of drugs involved".
"While the quantities of drug involved may be relevant to criminal questions of supply, the professional breaches involved in the improper and unethical conduct were serious and the conduct occurred on more than one occasion," NCAT found.
"The oral evidence of the practitioner was also marked by vague, incomplete and inconsistent answers that could not be entirely explained by the passage of time since the conduct."
Slater ultimately pleaded guilty in Maitland Local Court in April 2018 to two counts of supplying a prohibited drug and one of failing to comply with his licence conditions, after his lawyer managed to negotiate the withdrawal of a number of other more serious charges, he was placed on a good behaviour bond, fined $1300 and hasn't practised since.
He later successfully appealed the sentence in the District Court and was given three concurrent good behaviour bonds with no criminal conviction recorded.
According to a report by forensic psychologist Caroline Hare, Slater tried to normalise his behaviour stating that "a lot of chemists take medication" and he "figured [he] knew enough not to make a mistake".
"The Tribunal is very troubled by the fact that some four years after the events the practitioner still did not have any genuine recognition of the fact that his possession and use of restricted medication that had been prescribed for his patients, and for which he had neither clinical need nor medical authorisation, was a serious breach of his professional duties," NCAT found.
The hearing heard that Slater continued to maintain his "fictitious account" that he had testosterone in his car because he was transferring it between pharmacies.
"The practitioner's account of how and why he came to be providing testosterone and other restricted substances to Person A also reflects poorly on both his credit and his understanding of his professional responsibilities," NCAT found.
Slater was banned for a year and warned that to be reinstated he would have to prove at a future hearing "serious and sustained actions required to demonstrate a commitment to ethical professional practice".