x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Psychiatrist denies pills for bribes

A psychiatrist is accused of prescribing psychotropic pills to patients who had no medical use for them.

ABU DHABI // A psychiatrist yesterday denied prescribing psychotropic pills to his patients in return for bribes, but admitted taking Tramadol - saying he was treating a medical complaint.

AA, from Sudan, told the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court that his patient, MG, visited him complaining of depression following the death of one of his brothers.

On the patient's first visit he asked for the same medication that one of his other brothers had been prescribed, but the psychiatrist refused as the other brother was not present. However, on a follow-up visit he granted the patient's request.

"If I was issuing those prescriptions in exchange for bribes I wouldn't have refused the patient's [initial] request," he said.

Prosecutors said that the pills were unsuitable for the patient and endangered his life. But the psychiatrist argued that they were appropriate for the symptoms the patient described. "Psychiatry does not include clinical examination or conducting tests … to check the credibility of the patient's claims," he said.

The psychiatrist admitted that he took Tramadol, which is illegal in the UAE without a medical prescription, but said he did so to treat an infection.

The court adjourned the case until June 18, and ordered that he be examined to ascertain whether he has a medical need for Tramadol.

hdajani@thenational.ae