Saskatchewan

Sask. doctor charged with improperly prescribing marijuana

The Saskatchewan College of Physicians and Surgeons has laid professional charges against a physician who was allegedly issuing erroneous marijuana prescriptions and billing excessively for it.

Doctor's licence has been revoked for unrelated reason, college says

Saskatchewan's College of Physicians and Surgeons says it does not keep track of doctors who prescribe medical cannabis, but there are regulations physicians must follow. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The Saskatchewan College of Physicians and Surgeons has laid professional charges against a physician who was allegedly issuing marijuana prescriptions without doing proper assessments and billing excessively for it.

He was working at Natural Health Services in Saskatoon, a clinic that is part of a chain with locations in Alberta which is "Western Canada's largest medical cannabis prescriber," according to a company press release.

According to the college, the doctor in question was assessing patients to determine if they were eligible for a medical cannabis prescription. 

The college alleges that from January to mid- February 2017, the doctor failed to meet professional standards by improperly assessing patients before prescribing medical cannabis and did not meet the college's requirements for authorizing patients to buy medical cannabis. 

A spokesperson for the college did not grant an interview by press deadline Monday.

Did not follow up with patients, college says

The college also alleges the doctor did not provide adequate follow up care to patients and failed to meet other requirements laid out in the college's rules around prescribing medical cannabis. 

For example, the charges against him state that a physician can only prescribe medical cannabis if the are also treating the patient for the medical condition cannabis is being prescribed for. 

Doctor followed procedures: clinic

In a statement to CBC News, Natural Health Services president Dan Vass said the physician in question was hired as contracted doctor from January to February 2017. 

"During his short engagement with NHS, [he] operated in compliance with our policies and procedures and we are not aware of any circumstances related to the charges brought by the College," Vass wrote.

Licence revoked

The charges against the doctor are professional in nature, not criminal. They have not yet been proven and a hearing is pending. 

However, the college revoked his licence to practice medicine due to an unrelated matter, a spokesperson said. 

He was practising under a provisional licence and "simply didn't meet the licensure requirements within the time that ... he was allotted to do so."

Vass said the doctor and the clinic parted ways after he lost his medical licence. 

About the Author

Stephanie Taylor

Reporter, CBC Saskatchewan

Stephanie Taylor is a reporter based in Saskatchewan. Before joining CBC News in Regina, she covered municipal politics in her hometown of Winnipeg and in Halifax. Reach her at stephanie.taylor@cbc.ca