TCM practitioner gets suspended jail term for prescribing Western drugs

Elderly practitioner gets suspended jail term for prescribing medicines without a licence

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 April, 2014, 3:38am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 April, 2014, 4:54am

A Chinese medicine practitioner who prescribed Western drugs without a licence has been given a two-month jail term suspended for a year.

Lu Chu-ying, 77, admitted he had prescribed and dispensed four drugs to a 20-year-old patient who later felt unwell and sought help in a public hospital.

Deputy Magistrate Vennie Chiu Wai-yee said the case was serious as Lu did not have a licence to prescribe those drugs.

But she allowed a suspended sentence in view of his age and the fact that he had since stopped prescribing such drugs.

The Department of Health had earlier conducted a search of Lu's clinic and found eight antibiotics and 66 unregistered drugs, Kowloon City Court heard.

Lu pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a substance to which the Antibiotics Ordinance applies, one of possession of a Part I poison, and one of possession of a pharmaceutical product not registered for sale or distribution.

The court heard the department raided Lu's clinic on Canton Road on April 2 last year after receiving a complaint of suspected drug poisoning from the Hospital Authority.

The officers found the 74 items and Lu admitted he was not authorised to possess them.

The drugs seized included reserpine and dexamethasone phosphate, both of which are classified as Part I poisons under the Poisons List Regulations.

The side effects of reserpine include gastric ulceration, irregular heartbeats and low blood pressure. Dexamethasone phosphate can cause gastric ulcers, high blood pressure, diabetes and osteoporosis.

Lawyer Francis Cheng said Lu was not ignorant of Western medicine.

He had received training on the mainland in the 1960s, but his studies were stopped by the Cultural Revolution and he lost all proof of his education, he said.

Cheng added that the drugs involved were mainly painkillers and antibiotics.

Lu suffered from diabetes and some drugs were for his own use. He was full of remorse and had stopped prescribing the drugs to patients, the lawyer said.