Chemotherapy overdose death

MELBOURNE — The death of an elderly patient from chemotherapy drug toxicity was “entirely preventable”, Victorian Coroner Rosemary Carlin said.

Ian John Gilbert, 77, from Melbourne, died in February 2015 after being prescribed methotrexate for a skin condition, after “extreme concerns” expressed by the dispensing pharmacist about the dose prescribed by the patient’s GP Dr Stephen LIM who assured the pharmacist the dose was correct.

“Mr Gilbert’s death from complications of methotrexate toxicity was needless and entirely preventable,” Coroner Carlin said.

“If appropriate tests had been conducted by his GP, they would have shown that his pre-existing medical conditions contraindicated the use of methotrexate at all.”

“The fact the drug was intended to treat a non-life-threatening skin condition makes his death all the more tragic and the decisions to prescribe and dispense all the more inexplicable.”

The coroner suggested the federal government look into making methotrexate an “authority required medication”.

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