Dr Williams fined for mixing medicines

Thursday October 04, 2018 Written by Published in Health

Doctor Joseph (Joe) Williams has been fined $10,000 and ordered to pay costs of $145,000 for mixing medicines he should not have, as well as giving inappropriate dietary advice.


The well-known Cook Islander, who also served as the prime minister of the Cook Islands, was found by the New Zealand Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal to have prescribed a mixture of a potent steroid and an antifungal cream to 12 patients.

According to a report in the New Zealand Herald, the tribunal was concerned the doctor mixed the two medicines without proper analysis of the consequences and adequate formal research.

The tribunal in a summary of the case said a further major factor was that the doctor in many cases prescribed the mixture in the face of concerns being expressed to him by other professionals whose views he should have respected and taken into account. The tribunal also found Dr Williams provided dietary advice outside accepted medical practice, reports New Zealand Herald.

“As well as being fined and made to pay costs, Williams, who is a GP with a special interest in the treatment of eczema, was censured and conditions imposed on his practice,” the report said.

“He appealed the tribunal's decision last year to the High Court and lost.”

Dr Williams is the medical director and a GP at the Mt Wellington Integrated Family Health Centre.

The 84-year-old from Aitutaki has spent over 50 years in medical practice, public health, health management, medical research, international health and politics. 

In 1963, he helped devise a treatment from a combined cream that relieved the itch and rash of a five-year-old child in Napier. The cream would be the basis of an eczema care therapy treatment process which has transformed the lives of more than 40,000 sufferers across the world.

Dr Williams has also conducted a number of research projects into communicable tropical diseases with introduction of mass treatment programmes that led to the eradication of some of these diseases in the Cook Islands. These diseases include lymphatic filariasis, intestinal helminthiasis, tropical pulmonary eosinophilia, tuberculosis and eosinophilic meningo-enccephalitis.         

              -RK/New Zealand Herald

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