Frequent excessive testosterone prescribing


legal law case justice crime

The Medical Board has issued a statement regarding a GP reprimanded over his overprescribing of testosterone

The Board says that Dr Onsy Hanna was the subject of a hearing at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, which found that he had engaged in professional misconduct as a result of prescribing clinically inappropriate and excessive amounts of testosterone to a patient.

Dr Hanna’s conduct came to light following an investigation by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services which found that between 13 January 2012 and 12 November 2014, Dr Hanna prescribed a total of 390 ampoules of testosterone to a patient-approximately nine times the normal therapeutic dose range.

The Medical Board of Australia received a notification from the DHHS regarding the investigation and the matter was referred to the tribunal in November 2018.

On 6 December 2016, Dr Hanna pleaded guilty to three charges of breaching the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2006 at The Magistrate’s Court of Victoria.

At this time he was not convicted, but was fined $6,000 and ordered to pay the prosecution’s costs.

After the Board referred the matter to the Tribunal, the GP admitted the Board’s allegation and agreed that his conduct should be characterised as professional misconduct.

The Tribunal was satisfied that Dr Hanna’s conduct amounted to professional misconduct, taking into account that:

  • his excessive prescribing occurred on 25 occasions and therefore was frequent, not isolated. On each occasion Dr Hanna failed to appropriately assess the patient;
  • he failed to monitor the rate at which he prescribed testosterone to the patient and therefore did not provide appropriate treatment options;
  • he failed to identify or consider whether testosterone was an anabolic steroid or drug of dependence;
  • after becoming aware that the patient was a bodybuilder, Dr Hanna continued to excessively prescribe testosterone to him without specialist expertise or referral;
  • he failed to identify that most of the prescriptions authorised multiple repeats;
  • he failed to recognise his professional obligations as set out in the Good Medical Practice: A Code of Conduct for Doctors in Australia; and
  • his conduct was a criminal offence.

The tribunal ordered that Dr Hanna be reprimanded and have conditions imposed on his registration requiring him to undergo education in relation to drug seeking and demanding patients, doctor shopping and drug misuse.

He is also required to undertake an audit of practice within three months of completing the education.

In making these orders the tribunal noted that Dr Hanna had stopped prescribing the testosterone prior to the investigation, pleaded guilty to the criminal charges, had shown remorse and taken positive steps to educate himself.

The Tribunal also noted that the patient had been seeing Dr Hanna for some time before the prescribing in question began, and that Dr Hanna had believed he was the patient’s usual GP.

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