Doctor charged with cough medicine offence

Doctor charged with cough medicine offence
Dr Tan Gek Young is the sixth doctor to be charged with codeine-related offences since 2012.

A doctor was charged in the State Courts yesterday with failing to keep proper records when dispensing a significant amount of cough medicine containing codeine.

Dr Tan Gek Young, a 60-year-old general practitioner, runs the Meridian Polyclinic and Surgery in Bedok North.

He is the sixth doctor to be charged with codeine-related offences since 2012.

Codeine is a controlled substance under the Poisons Act, as it can be addictive and an overdose can be fatal. Drug addicts abuse it as a substitute for other drugs to get high.

Dr Tan faces six charges under the Poisons Act. They include failure to maintain proper records when dispensing cough medicine containing codeine and not labelling the mixture sold as containing codeine.

Under the law, doctors have to record who they prescribe the codeine to, and the amounts prescribed, and label the medicine.

If he is found guilty, Dr Tan faces a maximum fine of $10,000, or up to two years' jail, or both, for each charge.

His case has been adjourned to April 9.

The first doctor to be charged with a codeine-related offence was Ho Thong Chew, who ran Focus Medical Group in Ang Mo Kio.

In 2012, the general practitioner was charged with selling cough medicine containing codeine without a wholesale dealer's licence.

He sold over 3,000 litres of codeine to three of his patients, who re-bottled it in small bottles to re-sell illegally.

He made a profit of over $500,000 in just four months. He was jailed 71/2 months and fined $60,000.

The Singapore Medical Council removed his name from the Register of Medical Practitioners. This means he can no longer practise medicine.

This article was first published on Feb 27, 2015.
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