20 Jul 2012

Doctor guilty of misconduct over drug prescriptions

8:54 pm on 20 July 2012

A family doctor in Lower Hutt has been found guilty of misconduct for prescribing excessively high doses of controlled drugs to a woman he knew to be an addict.

The Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal has released a decision saying Dennis Wong was aware there were restrictions on prescribing the sedative drugs for his patient.

But it says he went ahead and prescribed the patient Triazolam and Duromine between January 2000 and June 2010.

It says the patient had sometimes claimed to be travelling to Auckland or Australia, or said she had lost her prescription, to get further supplies.

Dr Wong has been fined $7000, ordered to pay $32,900 in costs, and told to attend a course on dealing with difficult patients.

He told the tribunal the woman was very persistent and difficult, had refused further help and he felt responsible for her.

Dr Wong has since retired but should he resume practising, he will be supervised for the first 12 months, and banned from prescribing controlled drugs for as long as the Health Minister deems appropriate.

Medical Council chairperson John Adams told Checkpoint he should have been seeking the support of his colleagues.

"People who are addicted often do put pressure on doctors to continue prescribing and it's difficult for doctors when patients, for instance, become dishonest or coercive. However, there are standards both clinical and legal that doctors need to meet."