Pharmacist supplied steroids to allow brother avoid illicit drugs

Bodybuilding case: David Lenagh accused by Pharmaceutical Society of professional misconduct

A fitness to practise inquiry has recommended a pharmacist who supplied a range of steroids to his body-builder brother be censured, and that conditions be applied to his future work.

The recommendation was made after pharmacist David Lenagh admitted supplying the medication while he worked at the Cara Pharmacy at Main Street, Longford in late 2014 and early 2015.

The inquiry sitting on Thursday was told Mr Lenagh supplied Testogel and Restandol Testocaps, which the inquiry heard are testosterone supplements; along with Anastrazole and Letrozole, described as aromatase inhibitors which reduce estrogen in the body.

Solicitor for the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI) JP McDowell said the medicines are generally known as anabolic steroids and are sometimes used without authorisation by athletes and body-builders to boost their physical performance.


Mr Lenagh said he supplied the medication to his brother Matthew because Matthew planned to get the steroids in injectable form on the black market. The pharmacist said he was worried his brother might suffer serious harm injecting doubtful substances from the black market. There were anecdotal reports of people having lost a limb, injecting in this way, he said.

David Lenagh told the inquiry he was very remorseful over his actions. He said supplying medication to his brother was “a stupid thing to do”. He said he was now working as a locum pharmacist and would be prepared to undergo a course of corrective training and subsequent supervision if the fitness-to-practise inquiry decided not to recommend he be struck off the register of pharmacists.

Matthew Lenagh told the inquiry he suffered from a condition where he perceived his body was too small and not sufficiently lean or strong. He said the danger of sourcing body-building medication on the black market was that it could have been made in "people's back rooms" and "you wouldn't really know what was in it".

He said he mentally pressurised his brother David, by expressing the intention to source the medication in injectable form on the black market.

He told the inquiry he was sure his pharmacist brother’s “first response” to a request for the drugs was “no”.

But he said when his brother saw him looking online for where to get the medication on the black market, the latter agreed to supply the medication.

The inquiry was told Irene Murphy, supervisory pharmacist at the Cara Pharmacy in Longford, became concerned in December 2014 when she noticed a box of medication missing from the shelf.

Mr McDowell for the PSI said Ms Murphy had given a statement to the society in which she said she continued to be concerned about intermittent discrepancies in stock levels until March 2015.

Mr McDowell said it was Ms Murphy’s evidence that when she challenged Mr Lenagh in March, he had admitted supplying the medication to his brother.

All the medication had been paid for at the time it was supplied.

The Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland’s Fitness to Practise Committee recommendation will now be considered by the society’s council at its December meeting.

If approved, the sanction will mean David Lenagh will be formally censured and conditions may attach to his registration relating to any potential work as a superintendent pharmacist in the future.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist