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Talkmed net profit falls 37.2% on lower patient visits

A FALL in patient visits continued to plague medical company Talkmed Group in its first quarter of 2018, whose boss and main revenue contributor was suspended last year but returned to practice in late March this year.

Net profit slid 37.2 per cent to S$5.38 million at the Catalist-listed group, which provides medical oncology and palliative care services, while revenues fell 25.7 per cent to S$12.07 million from a year ago.

The group said in a statement that it hopes that the resumption of medical duties by chief executive officer Dr Ang Peng Tiam on March 25 will improve the group's revenue and performance in the future.

Dr Ang, a noted cancer specialist, had been suspended for eight months by the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) over a complaint filed by two daughters of a patient who had died of lung cancer that had spread to other parts of her body.

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The SMC's disciplinary tribunal found him guilty of two of the four charges: that he had made false representation to the patient that there was a "70 per cent" chance of her lung cancer responding to the treatment he suggested, and that he failed to offer her surgery as an option.

Dr Ang accounted for 40 per cent to 50 per cent of TalkMed's revenue.

The group also said it is facing revenue pressure from neighbouring countries which have lower medical costs.

Talkmed closed at S$0.70 on Monday, according to Bloomberg.