TalkMed shares sink after CEO Dr Ang Peng Tiam is suspended for 8 months

Talkmed Group CEO, Dr Ang Peng Tiam.
Talkmed Group CEO, Dr Ang Peng Tiam.ST PHOTO: FILE

SINGAPORE - Shares of Catalist-listed TalkMed Group tumbled after trading resumed on Wednesday (June 28), following news that its chief executive officer, Dr Ang Peng Tiam, has been suspended for eight months by the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) after a failed appeal against charges of professional misconduct.

Dr Ang, a prominent oncologist, is synonymous with Talkmed and accounts for the lion's share of the Catalist-listed firm's revenue.

Dr Ang had appealed the charges, but the Council ultimately raised his punishment from a S$25,000 fine to a suspension, which will begin on July 25.

At 02:45pm, TalkMed was down 19.5 per cent at 60 Singapore cents, with some 976,000 shares traded. The counter resumed trading at 2pm after a trading halt called before markets opened on Wednesday. The shares closed at 74.5 cents on Tuesday.

TalkMed said in a statement around 12:30pm that the group is operationally sound and on a firm financial footing. "While the verdict may have a material impact on the group's earnings, the board is confident that the suspension will not have a major long-term effect on the group," it added.

All of Dr Ang's cases will be handed over to his colleagues including Dr Khoo Kei Siong, the current chief operating officer, the company said.

"With a team of 12 specialist doctors, the operations of the Group will continue as usual and the group has taken steps to minimise disruption to patients and to the business," it said.

"During the period of his suspension, Dr Ang will not be involved in any patient care but he will continue to lead the group and develop other growth opportunities," it added.

The charges against Dr Ang stem from a complaint against him by two daughters of a former patient that he treated between April 2010 to October 2010. The SMC's disciplinary tribunal found Dr Ang guilty of two of the charges: That he made false representation to the patient who was suffering from lung cancer that there was a "70 per cent" chance of responding to the treatment he suggested and that he failed to offer her surgery as an option.

A court of three judges said it enhanced Dr Ang's sentence due to the "multiple aggravating factors in this case, including Dr Ang's eminence and seniority.