An Auckland pharmacist's actions in dispensing 773 prescriptions for the pseudoephedrine-based drug Sudomyl - a total of 46,380 60mg tablets - have been found to be professional misconduct.
So far known only as Mr Y, the pharmacist filled prescriptions from "rogue doctor" Rhys Cullen over five months to March 31, 2007, the Health Practitioners' Disciplinary Tribunal says.
Pseudoephedrine is a precursor chemical for manufacturing illicit street drugs known as meth or "P".
The tribunal suspended Dr Cullen from practice on March 29, 2007, and subsequently had his registration as a doctor cancelled. He was fined $15,000.
The tribunal said in a professional conduct committee decision released yesterday that Dr Cullen's practice delivered bundles of prescriptions for Sudomyl and paid for them in cash.
They were always for 60 tablets, when most pharmacists prescribed only five to 30 tablets at a time.
Over four months when Mr Y dispensed 38,140 Sudomyl tablets, only 425 of them were for doctors other than Dr Cullen.
Many prescriptions were for one address, with six different patients recorded as living there, and significant variations in spelling of street names which limited computer match-ups.
A medicines control investigator, Nicola Jane Anderson, said that in 2003 and 2004 Dr Cullen had been personally taking prescriptions for Sudomyl into pharmacies all over Auckland, but it appeared police did not have enough evidence to prosecute at that time.
Mr Y, the pharmacy owner and operator, said in helping Ms Anderson he thought he was co-operating in the prosecution of Dr Cullen.
Though authorities such as the police and Medsafe had earlier known of Dr Cullen's prescribing, none of them told him not to continue filling the prescriptions.
But the tribunal said Mr Y failed to prevent Dr Cullen's prescribing, or supply of the Sudomyl when he had concerns about the level of prescribing being "massively out of line". He could not rely on what other bodies did not do as a justification for his own actions.
Further submissions will be made by parties to the case by February 14, before penalties and name suppression are considered.