A pharmacist has been struck off after creating bogus invoices from his pharmaceutical warehouse business and faking a cancer diagnosis, cheating a friend of more than £500,000 so he could pay off gambling debts.

Peter Saad, who lives in Nottingham, convinced a friend to go into business with him and invest in a new ‘pharmaceutical warehouse’. It was found that he went on to fake invoices to take £121,339 from a company involved in the business, for work never carried out.

A General Pharmaceutical Council tribunal heard that the ruse began in September 2018, when Mr Saad told his friend he needed a loan because a pharmacy he had bought in America had been seized by the US Government due to issues with his visa. Mr Saad said he was struggling with mortgage repayments as a result, so his friend, Person A, loaned him £288,200.

Mr Saad later feigned a cancer diagnosis, tricking Person A into lending him a further £127,150 for non-existent private treatment. He said he had ‘serious if not terminal’ testicular cancer, and even produced fictitious MRI scans and communications from a consultant as part of the ploy.

Around the same time, Mr Saad convinced his friend to go into business with him and invest in a new pharmaceutical warehouse. However, when his friend discovered invoices totalling £121,339 had been faked, he began to investigate.

Mr Saad eventually admitted he had lied, driven by the idea of securing funds to pay off gambling debts he had amassed.

Mr Saad was jailed for 21 months for fraud last year and has now been struck off the GPhC’s register, following a tribunal hearing which found it ‘unarguable that feigning cancer to deceive someone to fund non-existent treatment is conduct that would shock the public, and bring the profession of pharmacy into disrepute’.

The tribunal heard Saad ‘was in the grip of a gambling addiction which effectively took over his life’, but he has now received treatment and help, is remorseful of his actions, and wants to somehow repay Person A.

The tribunal said: ‘It is difficult to imagine a more heinous fraud than one predicated on feigning a cancer diagnosis.’

The tribunal said Mr Saad’s ‘premeditated’ actions were ‘extremely dishonest’, where he ‘repeatedly extracted significant sums of monies from Person A over a prolonged period of 10 months, whilst using his relationship and his profession to do so’.

The committee concluded that ‘nothing short of a removal [from the GPhC register] would satisfy the need to maintain public confidence in the profession, and to maintain proper standards of behaviour’.

This comes after a Birmingham pharmacist was removed from the GPhC register for supplying over an estimated £1 million worth of prescription drugs on the black market late last year.