Australia: Doctor takes bid to treat patient with MDMA to court, in first case of its kind in Australia

The ABC reported 12 November

A Melbourne doctor who is fighting for permission to treat a severely unwell patient with the drug MDMA has taken his battle to court, in what is believed to be the first case of its kind in Australia.

Consultant psychiatrist Eli Kotler launched legal action after the Victorian Department of Health knocked back an application to treat the woman, who cannot be named, with the drug more commonly known as ecstasy.

Dr Kotler challenged that decision in the Moorabbin Magistrates’ Court, which adjourned the hearing to early next year ahead of an appeal.

Kylie Evans, the barrister representing Victoria’s Health Department, told the court that the outcome of the case would be significant.

Kylie Evans, the barrister representing Victoria’s Health Department

“As far as we’re aware, this is the first such case that … will be heard in a court in Australia, seeking permission from the state to treat a patient with MDMA,” Ms Evans said.

In August this year, Dr Kotler was refused permission to treat the woman with MDMA, which currently cannot be used for anything other than medical research, scientific or teaching purposes.

“There is insufficient data to establish the safety and efficacy … with regards to safe use of a Schedule 9 poison in clinical practice,” Stefan Tulloch, the acting chief officer of medicines and poisons regulation at the Department of Health, wrote in a letter to the psychiatrist.

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