Medical practitioner’s practise restricted for inappropriate prescribing

22 Jul 2021

A tribunal has reprimanded a medical practitioner and prohibited him from accessing or prescribing any testosterone or growth hormone related peptides.

Dr Mario Marzola is a medical practitioner who practises in cosmetic and anti-ageing medicine. Between 2004 and 2017 he prescribed to eight patients testosterone or growth hormone related peptides that have little or no therapeutic benefit for use in weight loss or anti-ageing, and are commonly inappropriately used by body-builders for non-therapeutic purposes.

In his prescribing of these medications to the patients, he did not:

  • adequately document his clinical assessment, diagnosis or reason for prescribing the medications, or
  • adequately document what information was given to the patients about the benefits and risks involved with the prescribed medications.

Dr Marzola stated that while he believed there were indications to do so at the time of the prescribing, he admitted that the prescribing for the purpose he did so was not appropriate.

The Medical Board of Australia (the Board) referred Dr Mario Marzola to the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) on 23 August 2019 for professional misconduct. This followed an acceptance by the Board, on 10 August 2018, of an undertaking by Dr Marzola that he would not prescribe any testosterone or growth hormone related peptides.

On 18 December 2020, the tribunal found that Dr Marzola’s conduct met the threshold of professional misconduct in that it fell substantially below the standard reasonably expected of a registered medical practitioner of his level of training and experience.

The tribunal reprimanded Dr Marzola and imposed conditions on his registration that he must not prescribe, possess, supply, administer, handle, dispense or access, including as emergency treatment or doctor’s bag stock: dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), testosterone or growth hormone related peptides. The conditions also require him to undergo audits of this practice.

Further it imposed conditions limiting Dr Marzola’s medical practice to the following areas: hair restoration treatment, laser resurfacing of the skin, injections of dermal fillers and neurotoxins, minor skin excisions, ear lobe repair and lipodissolve.

Dr Marzola must also submit to an audit of the conditions by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

Dr Marzola was ordered to pay a fine of $15,000 to the Board and pay the Board’s costs.

The conditions will be reviewed in 12 months.

The full tribunal decision is available on Austlii.

 
 
Page reviewed 22/07/2021