By Mary Taruvinga, Senior Reporter
THE trial of a Harare doctor Jack Stone who is under fire for advocating off-label therapies she reportedly offered to patients despite lack of clinical evidence that the medicine is safe and effective, has started.
Stone, who is allegedly advocating a worrying combination of therapy for patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection and Covid-19, appeared Thursday before Harare magistrate Dennis Mangosi.
She was accused of injecting animal medicines into humans by colleagues during the peak of Covid-19 in Zimbabwe.
However, Stone defended herself, stating that she was given approval by the Medical Research Council of Zimbabwe to treat people, but the issue was that “some members in the medical sector are very conservative and they do not want any change”.
Her lawyer said Stone was experienced to an extent that fears regarding her operations should be cleared.
Stone got in trouble after a letter of complaint was written to the Registrar of Medical and Dental Professional Council of Zimbabwe and signed by Rashida Ferrand, a Professor of International Health, several experts and other the health professionals who complained Stone’s actions needed urgent review.
They also want her fitness to continue practicing in the country reviewed.
However, and led by her lawyer, Stone told court that “I graduated with a MBCH first class degree in 1999”.
“I also have a traditional healer’s practicing license. l did my internship in South Africa because of the lack of resources in Zimbabwe. l have 35 years of practicing as a health practitioner and have 6 publications so far,” she told the court.
“This is the third pandemic I have encountered as a health practitioner. Some members in the medical sector are very conservative and they do not want any change.”
Stone said between December 2020 and January 2021, there was so much chaos after many medical practitioners closed shops and ignored calls while people were dying in car parks and at home.
She said her practicing certificate expired on 31 December 2020 and when one needs to renew, they pay first and wait for a month or two to get a renewed certificate.
“You are, however, allowed to practice while you wait for the new certificate,” she said.
Stone said she fell sick from January 3 to the 15th and did not receive any notification that there was a complaint against her.
She denied dispensing any medication or treating anyone on January 18 as alleged, adding she never got any complaints from the public.
“There have been allegations that you injected animal medicines into humans?” her lawyer asked.
“I have never and would never inject animal evidence into a human being and I challenge anyone who can say that he has been injected with animal medicine to come before the court,” she said in response.
In a letter to the council, it was alleged that Stone had transgressed the strong code of conduct that the medical profession is bound to, and was potentially putting her patients at risk of harm.
It was alleged that Stone took advantage of her patients’ anxiety and vulnerable situation to promote panic and utilization of a non-evidence-based treatment regime. She denied all the allegations.
Trial continues on Monday next week.