IGF-1 prescribing leads to suspension for integrative medicine doctor

A ‘integrative medicine’ GP who failed to consult an endocrinologist before prescribing peptides to six patients has been reprimanded and had her registration suspended for four months.

Dr Carol Pearce was suspended by Western Australia’s State Administrative tribunal in October last year for professional misconduct for improperly prescribing Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1).

The tribunal also placed conditions on her registration, including limiting her ability to prescribe, supply, administer or dispense Growth Hormone-related medications and requiring regular audits of her practice.

The parties agreed that Dr Peace had prescribed IGF-1 peptide to six patients “when there was no proper therapeutic indication” for its use between November 2014 and September 2016.

According to the Australian Medical Board, it was agreed she did not have sufficient expertise or experience in the use of IGF-1 to enable her to properly prescribe it and even if there had been a therapeutic indication for its use, she failed to consult an endocrinologist.

Nor had she conducted sufficient consultations with the patients, with the initial and subsequent undertaken by telephone.

The prescribing of the peptide could potentially cause or exacerbate adverse effects on the patients, according to a statement from the board.

Dr Pearce had also required each of the patients to sign a ‘Peptide consent agreement of understanding’ document.

This “included clauses which were likely to mislead the patients in relation to their legal rights” among them “the right to commence proceedings seeking damages for negligence or misleading or deceptive conduct, and the right to notify a regulator in relation to the conduct of Dr Pearce, including the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency”.

The Medical Board had originally referred Dr Pearce to the tribunal on the basis that she had behaved in a way that constituted professional misconduct.

She was also ordered to pay a contribution towards the Board’s costs.

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