SINGAPORE - General practitioner Jipson Quah, who has been suspended for administering fake Covid-19 jabs to some 15 patients, allegedly charged at least three people between $1,000 and $1,500 per dose.
He also allowed at least 430 patients to take Covid-19 tests remotely, despite this being against the rules at the time.
These offences are very serious and warrant Quah, 33, receiving the maximum suspension of 18 months, said the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) in its grounds of decision on the case, which was published online on Monday (April 11).
It added that his actions put the general public at risk, and could have undermined confidence in the medical profession as well as Singapore's Covid-19 testing capabilities.
The SMC's interim orders committee set out three examples of how Quah had broken the rules.
First, he administered saline solution to some 15 patients in place of the Covid-19 vaccine. He reported these patients as having been vaccinated to the National Immunisation Registry. This happened around last December and January this year.
Quah also organised remote pre-event testing for unvaccinated people, even though this was not allowed at the time. Such people could pay him a monthly subscription fee of $125 for daily testing, or pay $12 per test on an ad-hoc basis.
One staff member - identified as "C" - also allowed people to send pre-recorded videos of themselves taking a Covid-19 test, in which they would state their names and the date and time. Their test results would then be uploaded to another Ministry of Health (MOH) database.
At least 430 such remote tests took place in the last two weeks of December. Quah was aware of this arrangement.
Lastly, a patient approached him to get a letter exempting her from being vaccinated against Covid-19. She showed him her positive serology results, indicating she had recovered from the virus in the past.
Quah administered a Covid-19 test, which was negative. But he subsequently instructed "C" to upload a positive result for the woman instead, and issued an exemption letter saying she had recovered from Covid-19. She would thus have been exempt from vaccination-differentiated measures.
In his defence, Quah said he was working long hours seven days a week, which contributed to chronic fatigue that could have clouded his judgment.
He asked to be allowed to work under supervision or as a locum doctor, and pledged to refrain from any medical procedures related to Covid-19.
These would enable him to support his young family and pay his bills, including around $600,000 in loans for the four clinics under his charge, as well as an outstanding home mortgage of about $2 million.
The committee said it had no confidence that Quah would abide by any conditions set, given that he had consciously disregarded the rules before.
It added that his conduct was not an isolated incident and involved a large number of patients. These patients might have interacted with members of the public, including vulnerable individuals, it said.
"Given the seriousness and extent of the allegations, we are of the view that the mere imposition of conditions on registration would not sufficiently protect the public or satisfy the wider public interest."
Quah is facing separate criminal investigations into his conduct, and was arrested on Jan 21 along with his clinic assistant, Thomas Chua, 40, and Iris Koh, 46, founder of anti-vaccine group Healing the Divide.
The trio allegedly conspired to cheat and submit falsified vaccination records to MOH.
Quah was charged in court before being granted bail of $20,000 on Jan 31.