Doctor charged in cough medicine case

Dr Tan Gek Young was charged in the State Courts on Thursday with failing to keep proper records when dispensing a significant amount of cough medicine containing codeine. -- ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW
Dr Tan Gek Young was charged in the State Courts on Thursday with failing to keep proper records when dispensing a significant amount of cough medicine containing codeine. -- ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A doctor was charged in the State Courts on Thursday 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 for codeine related offences in the past three years.

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 the failure to maintain proper records when dispensing cough medicine containing codeine and not labelling such mixture as containing codeine.

Under the law, doctors have to record who they prescribe the codeine to and the amounts prescribed, as well as 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 is adjourned to April 9.

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

In 2012, the GP was charged with selling cough medicine containing codeine without a wholesale dealer's license.

He sold more than 3,000 litres of codeine to three of his patients, who re-bottled it in small bottles to sell on the black market.

Ho made a profit of more than $500,000 in just four months.

He was jailed seven and a half months and fined $60,000.