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Increasing sanctions for family prescriptions

28 July 2014

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Increasing numbers of doctors are facing General Medical Council (GMC) sanctions for prescribing drugs for those close to them. 

Fitness to practice proceedings have been raised against doctors for prescribing friends and family with drugs such as benzodiazepines and opiates as well as antibiotics. 

Some incidents involve medication being issued to relatives living abroad. 

The MDDUS has warned doctors that there are also the added risks relating to laws on the import and export of medications, and concerns over access to the full medical history of patients outside the UK. 

MDDUS medical adviser Dr Naeem Nazem said doctors should only prescribe for friends and family when “absolutely necessary” and that it should be based on “clinical need rather than convenience”. 

Dr Nazem said: “It may be difficult to justify these actions with the ready availability of out-of-hours services, walk-in centres and A&E departments. 

“The first issue to consider is the GMC’s guidance which states doctors must, wherever possible, avoid prescribing for themselves of those with whom they have a close personal relationships.

The full GMC guidance Good practice in prescribing and managing medicines and devices can be found online.