Hearing Begins in License Revocation Case of Physician Who Recommended Marijuana to 7,500 Patients
A hearing began last week over whether the Medical Board of California should revoke the license of Dr. Tod Mikuriya, a Berkeley physician who has recommended medical marijuana to 7,500 patients, for failure to conduct adequate medical examinations and maintain medical records, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Lee, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/4). The medical board in July filed charges against Mikuriya, saying the case is about Mikuriya's record, not physician-recommended marijuana (California Healthline, 7/14). The state alleges that Mikuriya engaged in "unprofessional conduct" and was negligent in his handling of 16 cases since 1998, the Chronicle reports. According to Dr. Laura Duskin, awho conducted a case review at the state's request, her review of 17 files of Mikuriya's patients "revealed some serious deficiencies" and were "very inadequate," the Chronicle reports (San Francisco Chronicle, 9/4).
Mikuriya's attorneys asked Judge Jonathon Lew to dismiss the accusation, citing Proposition 215, the 1996 ballot initiative allowing state physicians to recommend marijuana to sick patients (California Healthline, 7/14). During the July 31 hearing in which Lew denied Mikuriya's motion to dismiss the state's case, Lew said Mikuriya failed to prove that the medical board violated his First Amendment rights to recommend medical marijuana. In the ruling, Lew said Mikuriya did not abide by the "accepted medical practice standards" to which physicians are expected to adhere under Proposition 215, nor did he "make good-faith recommendations based on honest medical judgments" when recommending marijuana to patients for medical purposes. Mikuriya on Aug. 20 rejected a proposed settlement by the medical board, under which Mikuriya would have been placed on probation for four years and would have had to take an ethics course, complete a clinical training program and reimburse the board $10,000 for investigation costs. The hearing will last several days, after which Lew will make a recommendation to the medical board, which makes the final decision (San Francisco Chronicle, 9/4).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.