The Health Practitioner’s Disciplinary Tribunal has censured a doctor, placed conditions on his practice, and ordered him to pay $37,000, after he prescribed controlled drugs to himself and his family, lied to the Medical Council about his addiction, and tried to change his medical records when he was being investigated.

The doctor developed an addiction to prescription painkillers. Over the span of several years, he prescribed the controlled drugs to himself and members of his family dozens of times.

The doctor was treated for addiction issues twice over the years, and was registered with another doctor to monitor him.

When applying for his practicing certificate, the doctor lied on the form by declaring that he did not have any addiction issues.

When the Conduct Committee began investigating the doctor’s prescribing practices, he contacted the doctor that was monitoring him and requested that documents relating to his referral for monitoring be removed.

The Tribunal held that the doctor’s actions amounted to serious misconduct. Although the Tribunal decided that cancellation of the doctor’s registration was unnecessary, it described the conduct as serious and of concern.

The Tribunal censured the doctor and ordered him to pay a fine of $2,000 in addition to costs of $35,000. If the doctor continues to practice, he is to undertake further training on prescribing, ethics, and record keeping. He will also be the subject of supervision by the Medical Council for the next three years.

It is important that health practitioners follow the correct prescribing practices, and adhere to high standards of honesty. Failure to do so may result in expensive, and potentially career-ending, consequences.

If there are concerns about the prescribing practices, or honesty, of a health practitioner, it is wise to speak with a professional experienced in the area.

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