A Sydney GP who inappropriately prescribed addictive drugs to 24 patients was investigated after two pharmacists notified the HCCC
Dr Osman Qadri, a solo general practitioner based in the Western Sydney region, first came to the attention of the Pharmaceutical Services Unit (PSU) in 2012, concerning his prescription of drugs of addiction.
At the time, a pharmaceutical officer of the PSU had conversed with Dr Qadri about his prescribing practices, pointing out the need to obtain an authority, establish a therapeutic basis for prescribing drugs of addiction, resist demands of drug-seeking patients and more.
Despite these warnings, Dr Qadri’s prescribing patterns continued and were again brought to the attention of the PSU after two pharmacists made complaints to the HCCC in 2015.
The HCCC brought Dr Qadri before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal to answer for his prescribing patterns related to 24 different patients from 2011 onwards.
The Commission alleged that the doctor, who had graduated in medicine from the University of Western Australia in 2003, had prescribed Schedule 8 and Schedule 4D drugs without performing an appropriate medical assessment; without making timely referrals for specialist assistance; for an inappropriate therapeutic purpose and in an inappropriate quantity; without obtaining an authority.
These drugs included:
- Oxycodone + Naloxone
- Codeine Phosphate + Paracetamol
In some cases, prescriptions were provided even though the patients were exhibiting drug-seeking behaviour, as identified in the practitioner’s clinical notes.
And in a few cases, he had failed to contact the NSW Drug & Alcohol Specialist Advisory Services – even after being advised by a pharmacist that one patient had forged a prescription.
An expert witness to the tribunal was highly critical of the respondent, stating that he had failed to conduct an appropriate assessment of several patients before prescribing high doses of strong painkillers.
While Dr Qadri said he had tried reducing dosages in some patients, the tribunal said “the steps which he took were too little and too late”.
The doctor also defended himself, stating his was “naïve in being influenced by the patients’ statements that other medication had no beneficial effect”.
It was also submitted on Dr Qadri’s behalf that he was “relatively inexperienced” as a GP in his failure to adequately maintain medical records, in combination with being overwhelmed with the patients he inherited on the death of his father and the fact that he was working alone.
However the tribunal found all particulars of the complaints related to the 24 patients were established.
While the respondent had voluntarily surrendered his authorities to prescribe Schedule 8 and Schedule 4D drugs in 2015, following investigations carried out by the PSU, the tribunal decided further sanctions were warranted.
It found Dr Qadri guilty of professional misconduct, and cancelled his registration as a medical practitioner.
He is not allowed to seek re-registration until October 2019, and was also ordered to pay costs.