Psych suspended for S8, S4D overprescribing

psychiatry psychiatrist man male patient

The specialist doctor only stopped after pharmacists pulled him up on his prescribing practices

A Sydney psychiatrist has been suspended by AHPRA after a tribunal found him guilty of inappropriately prescribing drugs of addiction.

In addition to professional misconduct related to his prescribing practices, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal also found Dr Ian De Saxe had engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with patients, contravening the professional boundaries expected in a doctor-patient relationship.

A medical graduate from the University of Sydney, Dr De Saxe had been practising since 1987.

At the time of the complaints, beginning in 2010 and 2011, he was in private practice on Sydney’s north shore.

It was alleged Dr De Saxe had prescribed S8 drugs methadone/physeptone and dexamphetamine to Patient A, for a purpose that did not accord with recognised therapeutic standard.

He did so despite not being the patient’s nominated prescriber on the NSW Opioid Treatment Plan; without holding an authority to prescribe such drugs; and even though Patient A was exhibiting drug-seeking behaviours and had a history of substance abuse.

He also prescribed Schedule 4D restricted substances, namely alprazolam, to Patient A.

While the doctor acknowledged that he had violated doctor/patient boundaries with Patient A, he continued to treat him – despite discovering his prescription pad and pen had been stolen and a number of prescriptions had been forged.

After losing touch, the patient contact Dr De Saxe about two years later begging him for prescriptions for dexamphetamine and alprazolam – in response, he provided prescriptions for alprazolam.

When they were presented, three different pharmacists telephoned Dr De Saxe to explain that alprazolam was listed as an S8 drug, and that the quantity and intervals between prescriptions needed to be written on the medicine (alprazolam had been upscheduled from S4D to S8 on 1 February 2014).

It was then that Dr De Saxe realised he needed to end the contact with Patient A.

Overall he had prescribed drugs to the patient on 47 occasions and in substantial quantities, between April 2010 and September 2014.

He was also found to have engaged in inappropriate conduct with two other patients.

Dr De Saxe stated that he had been suffering from increased person stress during this period of time.

His mother suffered from dementia and had also been diagnosed with breast cancer. In addition, Dr De Saxe claimed that he learnt his long-time partner had another relationship.

While the tribunal acknowledged that the practitioner had been suffering from increased personal stress at the time, Dr De Saxe was found guilty of professional misconduct relating to three patients altogether.

The tribunal ordered his suspension – however, no date has been provided as to how long the suspension will remain in place.

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