A man who allegedly faked his credentials to masquerade as a doctor in the New South Wales health system later worked for one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, AstraZeneca.
Shyam Acharya allegedly stole the identity of another doctor in India, Sarang Chitale, and fraudulently gained registration with the Medical Board of NSW in 2003.
He worked as a doctor in NSW hospitals, including Wyong, Gosford, Hornsby and Manly, for more than a decade.
Mr Acharya later took a job with global pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca in Sydney.
The company said it was disappointed to hear of the allegations.
“Mr Acharya was employed by AstraZeneca under his alias name for a period of approximately 11 months from 2013 to 2014,” AstraZeneca said in a statement.
The company, which manufactures oncology and cardiovascular drugs, said it did not check his Indian medical credentials because they were not directly relevant to his work on the medical affairs team.
“At the time of his employment, the relevant local checks were conducted as part of our recruitment process,” the company said.
“His stated overseas medical qualification was not a core requirement of the role therefore was not investigated at the time.
“AstraZeneca fully cooperated with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency since they initially made contact in October last year.”
The company said Mr Acharya had no contact with patients.
New employer raised alarm
In June 2015, Mr Acharya took up a role with Novotech, a private firm based in Sydney which runs clinical trials.
The company became suspicious of his credentials and notified authorities.
“In September 2016, Novotech management became aware that he may have misrepresented his identity and qualifications,” the company said in a statement.
“Novotech immediately took steps to investigate and contacted the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and the NSW Police (amongst others).”
“Those organisations conducted their own investigations into this issue with which Novotech fully cooperated.”
Mr Acharya also did not have any direct contact with patients at Novotech, the company said.
Acharya may have had medical training
Earlier, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said Mr Acharya, whose whereabouts are currently unknown, may have “trained in a medical course” in India.
“Whether he actually completed that qualification is a moot point,” Mr Hazzard said.
Mr Archarya lost his right to practise medicine in 2014 when it was found he did not meet new requirements to keep his registration.
It is understood that so far, one complaint has been found in relation to treatment of a broken arm at the Manly Hospital.