Number of charges dismissed against Mayo pharmacist

Lack of clarity regarding aspects of animal remedy regulations, says judge

A District Court judge has said there is a lack of clarity regarding aspects of animal remedy regulations after dismissing a number of charges against a  Mayo pharmacist.

A District Court judge has said there is a lack of clarity regarding aspects of animal remedy regulations after dismissing a number of charges against a Mayo pharmacist.

 

A District Court judge has said there is a lack of clarity regarding aspects of animal remedy regulations after dismissing a number of charges against a Mayo pharmacist.

Daragh Quinn of Quinn’s Chemist, Bridge Street, Crossmolina, pleaded guilty to 34 breaches of the European Communities Animal Remedies regulations following the supply of medication to a farm in Co Galway but was convicted of only one charge.

Judge Mary Devins said that due to the “lack of clarity” and uncertainty surrounding the legal definition of some of the regulations, she was dismissing the majority of the charges against Mr Quinn.

He appeared before Ballina District Court in breach of regulation 28 which governs the sale or supply of animal remedies without a valid prescription; regulation 48 which is to utter an altered document and falsely endorse a document; and regulation 43 which is to falsely endorse a prescription.

The charges were brought against Mr Quinn in his capacity as a chemist and director of Quinn Chemists and against the company, Quinn Chemists Limited.

The antibiotics were supplied to Richard Bourns, of Lisbeg Farms, Eyrecourt, Co Galway, which is one of the largest farms in Connacht with up to 1,000 cattle and 2,500 sheep.

While pleading guilty to the charges, Eoin Garavan, counsel for Mr Quinn, argued there was no legal definition around the term “dispense” and when this action takes place.

Confusion

There was confusion, he said, over whether his client was in breach of the regulations regarding the sale or supply of animal remedies without a valid prescription.

The judge agreed and dismissed “on the grounds of uncertainty, all summonses against all three accused, Daragh Quinn, Daragh Quinn as a director and the company Quinn Chemists Limited, which relate to sale or supply and date of supply.”

“That uncertainty, both legislatively and evidential, is not excused by the initial plea of guilty on the part of the accused.”

The judge convicted Mr Quinn on one sample charge of breaching regulation 48 which related to the placement of adhesive labels on medication on September 29th, 2015.

Evidence in the case was heard in June when Louis Riordan, a Department of Agriculture veterinary inspector, said officials inspected Lisbeg Farms on September 23rd, 2015 and found a large quantity of antibiotics. They formed the view there was a “gross oversupply of antibiotics” which came from Quinn’s Chemist.

Files inspected

Mr Riordan visited the premises on September 29th, 2015 and on inspecting Mr Quinn’s files and comparing them with the antibiotics found on the farm, he found an oversupply of medication had been sent to the farm.

While Mr Quinn admitted to the charges, he explained his practice after receiving a phone call from the farm requesting an order. After preparing the order, he would place it in a basket for sending but stressed he never sent the product until the prescription arrived. He explained he had a similar method when preparing an order for a nursing home, as it saved time.

The judge imposed a €750 fine and gave Mr Quinn one month to pay it.