Vietnamese pediatrician fined for quack 'weight gain' meds

By Dinh Tuyen, Thanh Nien News

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The office of doctor Le Thang in Can Tho City is closed after Thanh NIen published a story about his erroneous prescriptions to many local kids. PHOTO: DINH TUYEN
A doctor in the southern city of Can Tho had his medical license suspended for 9 months and was fined VND29.35 million (around US$1,400) for prescribing anti-inflammatory medicine and painkillers for children suffering from a lack of appetite.

Le Thang closed his office on crowded Mau Than Street soon after Thanh Nien newspaper published an expose detailing numerous erroneous prescriptions he'd made for his child patients.

The prescribed medicines included Domperidone (a medication used to relieve nausea and vomiting), Paracetamol, Acemuc, and Prednisolon, a medication that contains corticosteroid and reportedly causes a side effect called Cushing syndrome.

The syndrome involves rapid weight gain, particularly of the torso and face and causes muscle and bone weakness, as well as a memory and attention dysfunction.
 
Dr. Le Thang receives money paid by a kid's mother for his prescribed medicines. PHOTO: DINH TUYEN
The mother of one 6-year old boy told Thanh Nien that Thang hastily examined her child before writing a prescription for a cocktail of medicines that caused the boy to gain 1.1 kilograms just within two weeks. The medicines cost VND700,000, the mother said.

When the mother brought her boy to Thang's office for a follow-up, the doctor told her that she needn't bring her son, but could come alone to purchase more meds.

The mother felt suspicious and ceased following the doctor's advice. After ceasing the medication, she found her son lost all of the weight he'd gained and looked even skinnier than before.

Thang advised a Thanh Nien reporter, pretending to be a young patient’s father, to take a several-week prescription to save trips to his office.

Prior to the investigation, the Ho Chi Minh City Health Department reportedly fined three pediatricians for prescribing corticosteroid to children to induce rapid weight gain.
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