A doctor whose prescribing practices were at the centre of several APTN stories over the past five years, has been charged with unprofessional conduct under the Medical Profession Act.
Dr. Murray Davies is currently prohibited from prescribing opioids and benzodiazapines except in certain circumstances, such as working an emergency room shift.
Last week, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan leveled the charges against Davies, a family doctor who also ran the methadone program in Kamsack, Sask.
In April 2013, APTN Investigates reported, exclusively, several indigenous patients claimed they were over-prescribed or unduly prescribed opioids and once hooked, shuttled into the same doctor’s methadone program to get off the drugs.
Some said they routinely failed drug screens but got their methadone anyway. All had concerns the methadone program wasn’t being properly run and complained they weren’t being weaned off the drug.
A year after that expose, Health Canada stripped Davies of his ability to run the methadone program at the urging of the College of Physicians and Surgeons.
At that time, a spokesman for the regulatory body would only say: “the College suggested he not have his authorization renewed.”
They wouldn’t detail why.
Davies was allowed to continue his family practice which includes the ability to prescribe opioids and other narcotics.
The College’s prescription review program monitors opioid prescriptions to ensure the highly-addictive medications aren’t being improperly prescribed or over-prescribed.
It confirmed to APTN Investigates back in 2013 that Davies was on their radar but would only say “we advise physicians if we have concerns with patient use … and if we have concerns about a physician’s prescribing we can ask for an explanation,” Spokesman Brian Salte said then.
He added the program was designed to help doctors, not police them, and it’s “almost exclusively an educational process”.
But that changed last week when the College charged Davies.
“A disciplinary investigation is generally only brought if the College reaches the conclusion that educational interventions have failed or that there is some other reason that an educational approach is not appropriate,” Salte said in an email Thursday.
“I cannot discuss the investigation or the reasons that the College has taken its action. Those are issues which relate to the evidence that may be considered if there is a discipline hearing.”
Dr. Davies is still has his family practice and works at the community’s emergency room.
If there is an admission by Davies, the penalty hearing will address the allegations which led to the College’s charge. If there is a contested hearing, the evidence will be introduced at that hearing.
On ratemds.com, a website where patients can rate doctors, many posts complain about Dr. Davies’ prescribing practices, while other herald him as a “wonderful” doctor who the town is “lucky to have.”
Kamsack, a hub for Cote, Keeseekoose and Key First Nations, is 80 kilometres north of Yorkton near the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border.