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Patient took home more than a dozen ketamine syringes
Another patient, who wants to be known only as Claire, visited Aura Medical’s Melbourne Clinic, suffering from major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Claire said she initially felt better after the first few injections and was given several packages of the injections to take home.
“They were packed in a pink little zip-up case,” she said.
“The syringes had actually been backdated and were labelled with my name incorrectly spelled and a doctor’s name on it that I had never seen in my life.”
Receipts provided to the ABC showed Claire spent more than $2,500 on ketamine injections over several months.
“It’s wrong and they are getting a lot of money out of a lot of people. Some of these people, I don’t think they even understand what anxiety is and what it is to suffer from major depressive illnesses,” she said.
She said although she had experienced some short-term results, she could not afford weekly treatment.
“I had no other options, I still don’t until proper clinics can come up where they actually monitor people and there’s proper screening processes,” Claire said.
“They just need to really be closed down; they need to be closed down right now.”
Regulatory loophole in prescribing ketamine
Because ketamine is a schedule 8 prescription medication, being used off-label for depression treatment, its use is not governed by the TGA.
In a statement, NSW Health said it was generally concerned about any practice where patients were provided with injectable schedule 8 drugs for self-administration.
The Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (APHRA) said it could only investigate complaints about individual doctors, nurses or pharmacists.
AHPRA encouraged anyone with any information about possible risks to public safety to contact them on 1300 419 495.
Last month the company’s medical director Professor Graham Barrett, a lecturer at the University of Melbourne, told the ABC he had resigned from the position, citing a conflict between his work as a medical researcher and the company’s profit-driven approach.
Aura Medical has been contacted for comment.