Citizens Commission on Human Rights

The Mental Health Watchdog

Australian National Office

Doctors Could Face Prison Over Drug Prescriptions

Prison BarsA leading expert in law for the elderly says some health professionals could face legal action and even prison, following Lateline’s story on how thousands of elderly people could be dying prematurely because of over-prescription of anti-psychotic drugs.


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: A legal expert is calling for tough action against health professionals who over-prescribe powerful drugs to elderly Australians without proper consent.

That follows our story two weeks ago which revealed that thousands of people may be dying prematurely each year from the misuse of some anti-psychotic drugs.

Lateline received scores of emails and phone calls after that story and this week the Minister for Aged Care, Mark Butler, held a special roundtable discussion on how to reduce the widespread overprescription of drugs.

Now one of Australia’s leading experts in law for the elderly has told Lateline he believes some health professionals could face legal action and even prison.

Margot O’Neill has this exclusive report.

MARGOT O’NEILL, REPORTER: When Michelle found her mother in what she believed to be a drug-induced coma in a New South Wales nursing home last year, she filmed her mother’s condition and she called Crime Stoppers.

MICHELLE, DAUGHTER: I knew that she was dying. I had asked my friend, “Look, my mum’s been overdosed with morphine, with drugs, and I need someone to be held accountable and I want to get an autopsy, I want to have a post-mortem and I want it to be a coronial inquest. How do I go about that?” She said, “Ring Crime Stoppers.”

Click here to read the full article on Lateline.