Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency - Medical practitioner disqualified for inappropriate prescribing
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Medical practitioner disqualified for inappropriate prescribing

26 Feb 2021

A Victorian medical practitioner has been reprimanded and disqualified from applying for registration for 14 months, after he inappropriately prescribed medications and was dishonest with the Medical Board of Australia.

The Medical Board of Australia (the Board) began an investigation into Dr Syed Islam’s (MED0001551261) conduct after Victoria Police informed the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) about allegations about his prescribing. This resulted in the Board taking immediate action by suspending Dr Islam’s registration on 22 May 2018, while it carried out an investigation.

In April 2018, the Board referred the matter concerning Dr Syed Islam to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal).

The Board alleged, in summary, that Dr Islam had:

  • inappropriately prescribed medications (diazepam, oxycodone, alprazolam and/or MS Contin) to commercial sex workers on eight occasions without conducting an assessment or examination or making clinical record
  • engaged in dishonesty and theft (including pleading guilty to criminal charges of theft and making a false document), in stealing and forging a doctor’s name on a prescription pad and falsely denying he had done so to the Board during an immediate action process, and
  • inappropriately prescribed medications (including schedule 4 drugs) to himself and a family member (without her knowledge) on 16 occasions.

The tribunal found that Dr Islam had engaged in professional misconduct, reprimanded him, cancelled his registration and disqualified him from applying for re-registration for 14 months.

In its reasons, the tribunal indicated that a longer period of disqualification period would have been appropriate but for relevant mitigating factors, including stressors at the time of the conduct, insight and remorse, and delays attributable to COVID-19. In imposing the disqualification period, the tribunal took into account the approximate 27 months that Dr Islam had already served out of practice suspended under immediate action imposed on 22 May 2018.

The tribunal indicated the seriousness with which it viewed Dr Islam’s behaviour, finding he completely disregarded the potential for harm to a vulnerable patient group and that the conduct had the potential to significantly undermine the public’s confidence in the profession.

Read the tribunal’s decision on the AustLII website

Page reviewed 26/02/2021