Improper prescribing of peptides leads to four-month suspension

12 Apr 2019

A tribunal has suspended a medical practitioner for four months for professional misconduct.

On 27 October 2018, the State Administrative Tribunal in Western Australia (tribunal) reprimanded Dr Carol Pearce, a general practitioner, and suspended her registration for four months for improper prescribing of peptides.

The Medical Board and Dr Pearce agreed the following:

  • between November 2014 and September 2016, Dr Pearce prescribed a peptide known as 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, Dr Pearce failed to consult an endocrinologist
  • the prescribing of IGF-1 had the potential to cause, induce or exacerbate adverse effects to the health of the patients
  • Dr Pearce did not conduct sufficient consultations with the patients. The initial and subsequent consultations were by telephone, and
  • Dr Pearce also required the patients to sign a document called ‘Peptide consent agreement of understanding’ (Peptide consent/waiver). 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 conduct of Dr Pearce, including the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

The Medical Board of Australia (the Board) referred Dr Pearce to the tribunal on the basis that she had behaved in a way that constituted professional misconduct.

The tribunal was satisfied that proper cause existed for disciplinary action and ordered that Dr Pearce be reprimanded and her registration be suspended for four months, commencing on 1 October 2018. The tribunal also placed conditions on Dr Pearce’s 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.

Dr Pearce was also ordered to pay a contribution towards the Board’s costs.

You can read the full decision on the tribunal’s website.

 
 
Page reviewed 12/04/2019