Tribunal reprimands medical practitioner for prescribing medication for himself and his partner

16 Jan 2019

A tribunal has reprimanded a Western Australian medical practitioner, Dr Kenneth Charles Lee, for self-prescribing medication, prescribing in the name of his partner (at the time) (Partner) for personal consumption and for prescribing for his Partner.

In summary, Dr Lee admitted that he had:

  • self-diagnosed and self-prescribed Schedule 4 medication including Eformoterol, Pramipexole, Clonidine, Colchicine, Liothyronine, Testosterone, Desvenlafaxine, and Mirtazapine
  • prescribed Schedule 4 medicines in the name of his Partner when they were for his own personal use and presented the prescriptions at various pharmacies
  • prescribed Schedule 4 medicines to his Partner without obtaining a complete medical history, conducting adequate observations, determining a diagnosis, formulating a management plan and without making a medical record, and
  • failed to refer his Partner for an objective assessment by another medical practitioner when it was appropriate to do so.

The tribunal heard that Dr Lee had acted in a way contrary to the Board’s Good medical practice: a code of conduct for doctors in Australia (the Code) including failing to display a standard of behaviour that warrants the trust and respect of the community.

Breaches of the Code included failing to:

  • seek independent, objective advice when needing medical care
  • consult and take advice from colleagues, when appropriate
  • refer his Partner to another practitioner when it was in her best interests to do so
  • consider the balance of benefit and harm in all clinical-management decisions
  • avoid providing medical care to a person with whom he had a close personal relationship in circumstances where there were no impediments to him referring his Partner to another medical practitioner for her to receive objective medical care
  • maintain professional boundaries
  • maintain adequate records with respect to his medical care of his Partner, and
  • keep accurate, up-to-date and legible records that report relevant details of clinical history, clinical findings, investigations, information given to patients and other management in a form that can be understood by other health practitioners.

The tribunal noted that Dr Lee had voluntarily completed education on medical ethics and safe prescribing practices and at the time of committing the conduct, was undergoing a very stressful period of his life. There was no suggestion that the medications prescribed were inappropriate or in excessive quantities.

The tribunal reprimanded Dr Lee, fined him $4,000 and required him to pay the Board’s costs of $2,500. The tribunal also imposed conditions on his registration prohibiting him from self-prescribing and prescribing to family members together with an audit to monitor compliance.

The orders are published on the tribunal website.

 
 
Page reviewed 16/01/2019