The co-director of a small pharmacy chain in Wales has been sentenced to 16 months’ imprisonment after submitting more than £76,000 worth of false payment claims to the NHS.
Michael Lloyd, a pharmacist and co-director of Llanharan Pharmacy which owns five pharmacies across South East Wales, repeatedly submitted claims for payments to the NHS that falsely stated he had dispensed a more expensive item than he had actually provided to the patient.
Investigations revealed that at one of his branches, Talbot Pharmacy in Talbot Green, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Lloyd submitted false claims for more than 1,500 prescriptions over a five-year period, at the cost of £76,475 to the NHS.
Lloyd, of Penllyn, Vale of Glamorgan, received and processed prescriptions issued to NHS patients in the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board (CTMUHB) area.
The NHS Counter Fraud Service (CFS) was notified after concerns were raised by the health board. Subsequent investigations showed that, on several occasions, Lloyd had claimed that he had dispensed medicines in liquid form, which cost significantly more, when in fact he had dispensed tablets.
In one example, when dispensing tablets for dementia, such as memantine and donepezil — which cost around £3 — Lloyd claimed for the more expensive liquid formulation, which can cost the NHS up to £300.
Investigators also identified that Lloyd had falsely claimed for liquids on prescriptions issued to patients by community dental practitioners for analgesics and antibiotics.
Patients in all cases always received the correct medication that they were prescribed.
“Michael Lloyd abused his position as a pharmacist to deliberately defraud NHS Wales over an extended period of time,” said Graham Dainty, operational fraud manager of CFS Wales.
“A dishonest minority are harming the reputation of the honest majority of pharmaceutical practitioners.”
Lloyd admitted to the offences and paid back the £76,475 to CTMUHB in May 2019. He was sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court on 22 October 2019.
The other four branches in the business were not found to have processed their prescriptions in the same way.
Llanharan Pharmacy declined to comment.