The B.C. College of Pharmacists has set a date for the disciplinary hearings of the Penticton pharmacist that came under investigation following the 2017 overdose death of a teenager who was employed by the business.
The notice published on the college website stated the hearing for Sunrise Pharmacy owner Joelle Mbamy is set for Dec. 4 and arose out of two investigations performed by the investigators with the college in November and March 2018.
The 15-year-old employee, who lived in Penticton, was found unresponsive in his home on the morning of Sept. 19, 2017, according to the BC Coroners Service report. It was later determined he died of acute drug toxicity. According to the notice of hearing, the coroner who conducted the autopsy informed the College the cause of death was a methadone overdose.
“(The teen) was employed part-time at a local pharmacy and performed general duties such as filing paperwork and cleaning. Following (the teen’s) death it was learned that he likely had access to methadone while working at the pharmacy,” states the report. “(He) was not witnessed to have consumed methadone, but the liquid methadone had been stored in an unlocked cabinet in the medication compounding room, and (he) had been in the room unsupervised for several minutes on Sept. 18, 2017.”
The college launched an inquiry committee into allegations related to her conduct as the owner of Sunrise Pharmacy. It uncovered she had been dispensing medication without a prescription, dispensed methadone for maintenance before completing the mandatory training, provided unauthorized carries of methadone and Suboxone and dispensed medication from the premises during a time when the pharmacy license was expired.
As a result of the college’s investigations, Sunrise Pharmacy was restricted from dispensing any narcotic or controlled drug substance intended for opioid agonist treatment in June 2019.
Mbamy filed a petition in September claiming the teen’s death, which occurred a year and a half before the interim order, had been investigated and determined conclusively by RCMP that she was no way involved. But Penticton RCMP told the Western News at the time they believed the file was still open with the B.C. Coroners Service.
The hearing will take place at the B.C. College of Pharmacists’ office in Vancouver on Dec. 4 at 9:30 a.m.