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Fraudulently practicing as doctor: Man Sentenced

Man sentenced after fraudulently practicing as a doctor

14 February 2008

Please attribute to Derek Fitzgerald, Team Leader Compliance, Medsafe

A man who fraudulently practiced as a doctor for six months in 2005 and 2006 has been sentenced to 12 months' home detention and has had medicines valued between $60,000 and $70,000 seized.

The sentence follows a guilty plea to seventeen charges under the Health Practitioners Competency Assurance Act, the Medicines Act, the Misuse of Drugs Act and the Crimes Act.

Shane Jason Cleary, 36, has no medical qualifications yet carried out many of the functions of a registered medical practitioner, including holding consultations with patients, making clinical notes, requesting blood tests and assessing their results, prescribing medicines, purchasing medicines by wholesale and selling patients imported unapproved and prescription medicines.

Cleary operated a practice known as ‘Transitions Clinic’ based on the North Shore. The clinic provided health services described as ‘anti-aging and rejuvenation’. Services included: testosterone therapy, growth hormone therapy, sexual dysfunction therapy, libido enhancement and fat loss treatment.

The charges relate to obtaining prescription medicines and controlled drugs using forged prescriptions, importing and supplying unapproved medicines, supplying prescription medicines when not authorized to do so, obtaining laboratory tests using forged requests and acting as though he was a qualified and registered medical practitioner.

Cleary put patients’ health at risk by providing them with potent steroid and sex hormones, controlled drugs and other medicines with potentially serious effects without the benefit of qualified clinical advice and intervention. All medicines, but particularly prescription medicines carry risks and these must be carefully weighed against the benefits for each patient’s circumstances. Cleary also supplied patients with medicines that had not been approved for use in New Zealand through the process that ensures they meet international quality, safety and efficacy requirements.

"The Ministry of Health is pleased with the result of this prosecution brought by the Police with the assistance of the Ministry, and the sentence sends a strong warning that anyone fraudulently practicing as a medical practitioner and illegally dealing in medicines will be dealt with," said Derek Fitzgerald.

ENDS

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