Order of Pharmacists seeks emergency suspension for member facing fraud, drug use charges

Jonathan-Yan Perreault, who owns 40 pharmacies, is facing 18 charges, including fraud, drug use and bribery.

Jonathan-Yan Perreault, who owns 40 pharmacies, is facing 18 charges, including fraud, drug use

Large stockpiles of expired drugs intended for resale were found in some of Jonathan Yan Perreault's pharmacies. (iStock)

The Quebec Order of Pharmacists is seeking the immediate suspension of Jonathan-Yan Perreault, a 37-year-old pharmacist accused of breaching the pharmaceutical code of ethics. 

Perreault is facing 18 charges, including drug use and falsifying his pharmaceutical license.

Perreault, nicknamed "the king of pharmacists," built an empire of more than 40 pharmacies affliated with Uniprix across Quebec in the 11 years since he began practising in 2005. 

According to documents obtained by CBC News, Perreault's legal troubles began in 2014 when a pharmacist alerted the order that he had contacted a doctor hoping to buy medicine samples for resale, a practice that is banned.

When Perreault's pharmacies were investigated, inspectors found large stockpiles of expired drugs, drugs repackaged without proper identification and drugs that were incorrectly labeled.

He is accused of selling painkillers without a prescription and charging brand-name prices for generic medications.

Perreault is also accused of negligence.

In one case, a woman said she was given sleeping pills instead of her prescribed antibiotics. Another client said he offered them a $500 gift certificate to discourage them from filing a complaint.

Colleagues of Perreault also said they were threatened and pressured to sign falsified documents that would have cleared him of wrongdoing.

Accused of fraud, drug use

Documents provided by the Quebec Order of Pharmacists show that the 18 charges against Perreault include:

  • Fraud in obtaining his pharmaceutical licence.
  • Sale of wholesale drugs without a licence.
  • Keeping expired drugs with the intent to sell.
  • Sale of nonprescription drugs.
  • Failure to have ensured an accurate inventory of prescription drugs.
  • Registering false information on patient records.
  • Failure to disclose to the Order of Pharmacists that he was an owner, shareholder or partner of a pharmacy.
  • Failure to provide the Order of Pharmacists with legal documents.
  • Use of non-prescription drugs.
  • Use of psychotrophic substances.
  • Practising pharmacy in a state likely to compromise the quality of his practice.
  • Filing false insurance claims.
  • Receiving benefits from the practice of pharmacy.
  • Using nominees on legal documents.
  • Making threats and committing sexual harassment.
  • Attempting to bribe a patient to evade civil or disciplinary proceedings.
  • Entering into agreements with seniors homes and rehabilitation centres.
  • ​Obstruction of the work of the trustee, falsification of documents, refusal to submit to drug tests.

Perreault's state fragile, lawyer says

On Wednesday, Perreault's lawyer, Dominique-Ann Roy, requested that Perreault's hearing be postponed due to her client's precarious state of health. 

She said that Perreault has attempted suicide twice since May 21, and she requested a publication ban on his medical records, including testimony from a psychiatrist. 

His wife testified that Perreault is addicted to antidepressants and oxycodone.

On Thursday, the Quebec Order of Pharmacists dismissed the request for adjournment and the publication ban. 

Philippe Frere, the trustee responsible for the case, said that Perreault was intentionally avoiding the hearing in order to sell his pharmacies, some of which are valued at around $1 million. 

Roy did not return CBC's request for comment.