Marigold Pharmacy owner Rudy Sanchez holds a sign at a 2014 rally in support of him and his pharmacy. File photo

Suspended Courtenay pharmacist has licence revoked

Rudy Sanchez has been fined $115,000

Suspended Courtenay pharmacist Isidore ‘Rudy’ Sanchez has been fined $115,000 by a discipline committee of the College of Pharmacists of B.C. But even if he pays, he is many years away from re-obtaining a licence to practice.

Sanchez was the pharmacy manager of Marigold Compounding Natural Pharmacy in downtown, which the college shut down in 2014. Results of an investigation showed a “blatant disregard for public safety and meeting pharmacy practice standards,” a news release states.

A group dubbed Save Marigold Society formed to support the pharmacy. An October, 2014 rally drew a large crowd of Sanchez supporters at the Courtenay Courthouse lawn.

According to the college, unsterile and unclean facilities were used to manufacture a variety of prescription drugs and over-the-counter health products without authority to do so. In addition, human placenta intended for encapsulation was accepted and prepared with little regard for safety protocols.

Early June, the committee found that Sanchez engaged in unprofessional conduct and failed to comply with the Health Professions Act, and the Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act. He can apply for reinstatement of registration in six years, if he pays the fine. But even if he’s reinstated, Sanchez cannot apply for a pharmacy licence, or act as a pharmacy manager or director for a further five years.

Sanchez had served a previous year-and-a-half suspension for similar infractions after Marigold was shut down in 2010.

He could not be reached for comment.

Clive Ansley, who had served as Sanchez’s lawyer, recalls a newspaper story came out with details about the second raid at Marigold before the college had conducted an investigation. Though the provincial body said sanitary conditions in the lab at Marigold were filthy, he claims Health Canada saw no problems during a subsequent inspection.

Ansley believes Sanchez — like others involved in compounding and producing natural medicines — has been the victim of a witch hunt by the College of Pharmacists.

“Outlets like Marigold are such small operations, and yet the pharmaceutical companies seem to be paranoid about any competition from them” Ansley said. “I refer to the college as the ‘College of of Pharmaceuticals,’ rather than pharmacists, because I think they’re just there to protect the interests of the big pharmaceutical companies. They do go on these witch hunts, and they close people down. They’re talking about them being a danger to the public.”

To Ansley’s knowledge, hundreds of deaths occur each year in Canada due to side effects of approved drugs.

“We’re still waiting for the first death from any of these natural products,” he said. “When they talk about danger, it doesn’t even begin to compare to the dangers of standard medicines. And I’m not knocking standard medicines, I take them myself.”

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