A Charlottetown doctor will lose his licence to practice for 3 1/2 years for over-prescribing narcotics to a patient so that he could use them himself, the P.E.I. College of Physicians and Surgeons has ruled.


Dr. Grant Matheson entering provincial court in Charlottetown on Dec. 17. ((CBC))

Matheson was found guilty of professional misconduct last month but only recently learned the penalty, which includes a $15,000 fine. The penalty matches what was recommended by the college's fitness to practice committee.

By taking special courses and training at his own expense, Matheson could return to medicine nine months earlier. In any event, he will never be allowed to prescribe narcotics again.

The ruling is effective Feb. 10, giving Matheson time to inform his patients, but he is also appealing the ruling. Matheson's lawyer pointed out he was already suspended once before, when his addiction came to light three years ago, and that he's been practising medicine drug-free for two years without any new complaints.

Matheson will appear before the college some time in the next two weeks to ask for a stay in his suspension so he can continue to practice medicine until his appeal is heard.

In December, Matheson pleaded guilty to a separate criminal charge for the same incidents. He was sentenced to two years' probation.

Kevin Kelly, the patient who laid the original complaint in the case, said he wishes the penalty were more severe. Matheson prescribed hundreds of dilaudid tablets for Kelly and forced Kelly to sell them back to him.

Kelly told CBC News Tuesday not a day goes by that he doesn't think about the time he was supplying Matheson.

Kelly said he would like to see the Department of Health review the way the college investigates complaints in order to make the process more transparent and accountable. He's also looking into filing a malpractice suit against Dr. Matheson.