Medical practitioner reprimanded and has conditions imposed on registration for professional misconduct

10 Jan 2020

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) has reprimanded and imposed conditions on the registration of a general practitioner for professional misconduct as a result of prescribing clinically inappropriate and excessive amounts of testosterone to a patient.

Dr Hanna’s conduct came to light following an investigation by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) which found that between 13 January 2012 and 12 November 2014, Dr Hanna prescribed a total of 390 ampoules of testosterone to a patient, approximately nine times the normal therapeutic dose range. The Medical Board of Australia (the Board) received notification from the DHHS regarding the investigation and the matter was referred to the tribunal in November 2018.

On 6 December 2016, Dr Hanna pleaded guilty to three charges of breaching the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2006 at The Magistrate’s Court of Victoria.

The Tribunal was satisfied that Dr Hanna’s conduct amounted to professional misconduct, taking into account that:

  • his excessive prescribing occurred on 25 occasions and therefore was frequent, not isolated. On each occasion Dr Hanna failed to appropriately assess the patient;
  • he failed to monitor the rate at which he prescribed testosterone to the patient and therefore did not provide appropriate treatment options;
  • he failed to identify or consider whether testosterone was an anabolic steroid or drug of dependence;
  • after becoming aware that the patient was a body builder, Dr Hanna continued to excessively prescribe testosterone to him without specialist expertise or referral;
  • he failed to identify that most of the prescriptions authorised multiple repeats;
  • he failed to recognise his professional obligations as set out in the Good Medical Practice: A Code of Conduct for Doctors in Australia; and
  • his conduct was a criminal offence.

On 11 October 2019, the tribunal ordered that Dr Hanna be reprimanded and have conditions imposed on his registration requiring him to undergo education in relation to drug seeking and demanding patients, doctor shopping and drug misuse. He is also required to undertake an audit of practice within three months of completing the education. In making these orders the tribunal noted that Dr Hanna had stopped prescribing the testosterone prior to the investigation, pleaded guilty to the criminal charges, had shown remorse and taken positive steps to educate himself.

The court’s decision is published on the Austlii website.

 
 
Page reviewed 10/01/2020