Psychiatrist fined for self-prescribing

·1-min read

A Victorian psychiatrist has been hit with a $15,000 fine and suspended from practising for three months for self-prescribing restricted medicines.

The psychiatrist, Yogananda Ballekere, prescribed himself 13 different medicines on 38 occasions between January 2017 and August 2018, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal found.

Falsely using another person's name, he also self-prescribed medications in December 2014 and October 2016.

A number of the medications were psychotropic and one, Clonazepam, is classed as a drug of dependence.

Dr Ballekere said he used the drugs to help him sleep, and to manage his anxiety and depression.

He admitted self-prescribing and said he didn't know it was illegal in Australia, given he qualified for his medical degree overseas.

He used a third party's name on the prescriptions to hide his anxiety and depression from other doctors and pharmacists, to avoid embarrassment.

The tribunal acknowledged his circumstances were stressful, but found that did not excuse or sufficiently explain his conduct.

Dr Ballekere abused the trust placed in him as a psychiatrist, tribunal members said.

He was also ordered to write a reflective practice report on education he undertook to address his wrongdoing.

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