24 Jul 2013

Doctor censured over illegal use of drug

7:23 pm on 24 July 2013

A doctor with name suppression has been suspended and fined for the way she prescribed a drug that can induce labour.

In a summary released on Wednesday, the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal says the doctor acted inappropriately and contrary to the best interests of patients in prescribing misoprostol, known as Cytotec, to women in a way that was contrary to legal pregnancy termination procedures.

The tribunal says there was professional misconduct in relation to four patients.

For one patient, the doctor failed to do appropriate clinical assessments or tests to determine if the patient's pregnancy was non-viable or ectopic, or that she had adequate support while taking the drug.

For another, the doctor either prescribed the drug or told a nurse to give it, but without seeing the patient first or doing appropriate assessments.

The doctor failed to document prescribing or dispensing the drug to all four patients.

The tribunal says High Court orders mean it cannot publish details of the medical practitioner or certain other details, and that is why it has issued the summary.

It has fined the doctor costs totalling $38,310, suspended her for six months and imposed conditions for when she resumes practising.

The tribunal is also recommending that the doctor be prohibited from prescribing or supplying Cytotec for three years.