General practitioner disqualified for inappropriately prescribing peptides

23 Jun 2021

A tribunal has suspended a general practitioner for nine months for professional misconduct after he inappropriately prescribed peptides and other substances to 10 patients and to himself.

In August 2019, the Medical Board of Australia (the Board) started proceedings against Dr Christopher Moschou in the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) on the basis that he had behaved in a way that constituted professional misconduct. The Board made the referral after investigating allegations received in January 2017 about his prescribing practices.

In August 2018, the Board took immediate action and accepted an undertaking from Dr Moschou not to prescribe, possess, supply, administer, handle, dispense, access or check testosterone or growth hormone related peptides while its investigation was ongoing. Dr Moschou also agreed to an audit of his practice.

During the tribunal’s proceedings, Dr Moschou admitted that:

  • during the period 7 May 2010 to June 2017, he prescribed peptide medications to 10 patients and himself
  • he should not have recommended, prescribed or entertained the peptide medications as a treatment option in general practice medicine, to the 10 patients
  • he should not have recommended, prescribed or entertained a combination of peptide medications and steroids
  • he should not have recommended, prescribed or entertained a combination of a controlled drug and benzodiazepine medications
  • the provision of the peptide medications to the 10 patients created a risk of harm to the patients, including specified side effects
  • he failed to adequately monitor the 10 patients over the course of taking the peptide medications or that he failed to adequately record the monitoring in the patients’ written records
  • his medical record keeping setting out the 10 patients’ ‘informed consent’ was deficient:
    • it did not contain a written record of informed consent
    • it did not record the discussion or information provided as to off-label use and risks in respect of the peptide medications
  • his medical record keeping was not in accordance with the Board’s code of conduct, Good medical practice.

Dr Moschou also admitted that his admitted conduct amounted to professional misconduct.

The tribunal was satisfied that Dr Moschou had behaved in a way that constituted professional misconduct. The tribunal reprimanded Dr Moschou and suspended his registration for nine months from 28 September 2020.

The tribunal also imposed conditions on Dr Moschou’s registration, including that he not prescribe, possess, supply, administer, handle, dispense, access or check certain medications, including testosterone or growth hormone related peptides. Other conditions included requiring regular reporting to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and the Board, as well as audits of his practice. The conditions will come into effect at the end of the period of suspension and are subject to review in 12 months from that date.

Dr Moschou was also ordered to pay the Board’s costs.

The tribunal’s decision appears on the AustLII website.


 
 
Page reviewed 23/06/2021