Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Salt Lake VA Drugs Stolen Over 5 Years For "Fictitious Patients"

Feds probe massive theft of opioids from Salt Lake City’s VA hospital
The Salt Lake Tribune
By MATT CANHAM
First Published Mar 08 2016
A detailed investigation found that over a five-year period, this user stole 25 vials of testosterone, 12,205 pills of controlled opioids and 12,335 noncontrolled tablets of tramadol, a painkiller that the government elevated to a controlled substance in 2014.
(Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune) The George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Tuesday, March 8, 2016.
Administrators at Salt Lake City's veterans hospital believe a pharmacy supervisor bypassed security and created fictitious patients, some with famous names, as a way to hide the theft of more than 24,000 painkillers and 25 vials of testosterone.

The breach may not have happened, according to Department of Veterans Affairs leaders, if required software had been in place.

A criminal probe by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the V.A.'s Office of Inspector General has now entered its 12th month, and so far no one has been charged, though the main suspect no longer works at the Wahlen Veterans Affairs Medical Center. His pharmacy license expired in September.

The theft case is laid out in incident reports, emails and memos obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune, purportedly compiled by employees of the medical center who are upset by inaction in the case and the response of the medical center's leaders.

Beyond confirming the ongoing criminal investigation, federal law enforcement and officials at the medical center declined to comment Tuesday.

The suspect declined to comment through a lawyer.
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