GP suspended over IGF-1

legal law case justice crime

A medical practitioner has been suspended for four months after she was found to have improperly prescribed peptides

The GP was suspended by the State Administrative Tribunal in Western Australia after she was referred to it by the Medical Board of Australia, on the basis that she had behaved in a way that constituted professional misconduct.

The Medical Board and the GP agreed on a number of points, including that between November 2014 and September 2016, she prescribed Insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) to six patients when there was no proper therapeutic indication for the use of IGF-1 for those patients, and in circumstances where she did not have sufficient expertise or experience in the use of IGF-1 to enable her to properly prescribe it.

Even if there was a therapeutic indication for the use of IGF-1, the GP failed to consult an endocrinologist.

The two parties agreed that the prescribing of IGF-1 had the potential to cause, induce or exacerbate adverse effects to the health of the patients.

The doctor did not conduct any sufficient consultations with the patients. The initial and subsequent consultations were by telephone.

The GP also required the patients to sign a document called “Peptide consent agreement of understanding”.

The Peptide consent/waiver included clauses which were likely to mislead the patients in relation to their legal rights, such as the right to commence proceedings seeking damages for negligence or misleading or deceptive conduct, and the right to notify a regulator in relation to the doctor’s conduct, including the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

The doctor said that she at all times believed her prescription of IGF-1 was supported by a sound evidence base, and that she never intended to put her patients at risk.

She also maintained that she gave advice and directions to her patients that were designed to address the possibility that the prescription of IGF-1 might cause, induce or exacerbate any adverse effects to the health of her patients of which she was aware, including by advising her patients of symptoms to look out for and report to her, and by stopping any treatment if a patient reported such a symptom.

She said she did not intend to mislead her patients regarding their legal rights by giving them the waiver.

The tribunal was satisfied that proper cause existed for disciplinary action and ordered that the GP be reprimanded and her registration be suspended for four months.

The tribunal also placed conditions on her registration, including limiting her ability to prescribe, supply, administer or dispense certain medications and requiring regular audits of her practice. The conditions are to be reviewed in 12 months.

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