Gloucestershire vet reprimanded for illegal medicine supply
12 September 2007
This is an archived news story.
The Disciplinary Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons yesterday [11 September 2007] reprimanded a Gloucestershire-based veterinary surgeon for supplying prescription-only medicines to his wife.
At the two-day hearing, Mark Hinds MRCVS was charged with serious professional misconduct having admitted supplying the medicine Remedeine Forte to his wife between October 2005 and July 2006.
The supply of such prescription-only medicines is a criminal offence under the Medicines Act 1968 and the RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct requires veterinary surgeons to comply with this and associated legislation.
The College had first received a complaint about Mr Hinds from Carol Hyde, a former veterinary nurse who was employed at the practice at the time. Mrs Hyde reported that quantities of Remedeine Forte had been ordered by the practice but not for a particular client.
She subsequently learned that this medicine was intended for Mrs Hinds (who later admitted to Mrs Hyde she was taking the drug) and observed Mr Hinds taking the medicine away with him. Mrs Hyde’s complaint to the College and anonymous letter to the police also detailed additional deliveries of the medicine that were put aside for Mrs Hinds’ use.
The Committee heard that Mrs Hinds had been in a serious car accident in 1999. She had undergone repeated surgery to stabilise her spine and, later, to remove metalwork from her spine when she contracted MRSA. Since then, she had suffered ‘unremitting pain’.
In a letter to the College, Mr Hinds admitted supplying the medicine to his wife and expressed regret for his actions. He told the Committee he had not considered the Medicines Act, but did not feel he was taking over his wife’s care from her GP.
He stated that Remedeine Forte had been previously prescribed by her GP, with whom he had discussed the supply of his wife’s medicine, but explained that supply through the veterinary practice was more convenient.
In giving detailed consideration to all the evidence in the case, and taking account of the Legal Assessor’s advice, the Committee accepted Mr Hinds’ explanation of the circumstances leading to his supply of the medicine. It decided that his repeated supply of it over at least six months was disgraceful conduct that fell far short of the conduct expected of a member of the veterinary profession.
Before making its judgment, however, the Committee also took into account the mitigating evidence.
Mr Brian Jennings, who chaired the Committee, said: "We have been impressed by [Mr Hinds’] early admission of his conduct and the regret that he has subsequently shown. The oral and written testimonials that he has received [from over 40 veterinary surgeons and clients] indicate that he is highly regarded as a veterinary surgeon in the area in which he practises.
"We have concluded that the appropriate course to take is to reprimand Mr Hinds."