Conditions imposed after self-prescribing

A doctor has been reprimanded for self-prescribing and prescribing in the name of his then partner

The Medical Board of Australia has published details of a case in which a Western Australian medical practitioner was reprimanded for self-prescribing medication, prescribing in the name of his partner for personal consumption, and for prescribing for his partner.

The doctor admitted that he had self-diagnosed and self-prescribed Schedule 4 medication including Eformoterol, Pramipexole, Clonidine, Colchicine, Liothyronine, Testosterone, Desvenlafaxine, and Mirtazapine.

He also prescribed S4 medicines in the name of his partner – though they were actually for his own personal use. He presented the scripts for these medicines at various pharmacies.

The doctor admitted that he had prescribed S4 medicines to his partner without obtaining a complete medical history, conducting adequate observations, determining a diagnosis, formulating a management plan and without making a medical record.

In addition, he failed to refer his partner for an objective assessment by another medical practitioner when it was in her best interest for him to have done so.

West Australia’s State Administrative Tribunal heard that the doctor had acted in a way contrary to the Board’s Good Medical Practice: A Code of Conduct for Doctors including failing to display a standard of behaviour that warrants the trust and respect of the community.

He was found to have failed to seek independent, objective advice when needing medical care; failed to consult and take advice from colleagues, when appropriate; and failed to consider the balance of benefit and harm in all clinical-management decisions.

The tribunal also said he had failed to avoid providing medical care to a person with whom he had a close personal relationship, in circumstances where there were no impediments to him referring his partner to another medical practitioner for her to receive objective medical care.

He failed to maintain professional boundaries, the Tribunal heard, and to maintain adequate records with respect to his medical care of his partner.

The Tribunal noted that the doctor had voluntarily completed education on medical ethics and safe prescribing practices and, at the time of committing the conduct, was undergoing a very stressful period of his life.

There was no suggestion that the medications prescribed were inappropriate or in excessive quantities.

The Tribunal reprimanded the doctor, fined him $4,000 and required him to pay the Board’s costs of $2,500.

It also imposed conditions on his registration prohibiting him from self-prescribing and prescribing to family members together with an audit to monitor compliance.

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