Abington Hospital-Jefferson Health has negotiated a settlement of $510,000 to close the book on charges related to the theft of thousands of pills by a staff pharmacist, according to PhillyVoice.com. The hospital originally disclosed the infraction to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in 2013.
Renata Dul was employed in the hospital pharmacy when she started stealing pills in February 2010. The thefts took place until August 2013. While a variety of pills were taken, the vast majority were oxycodone.
According to a report in the Bucks County Courier Times, Dul bypassed internal alerts in the hospital’s computer system by employing a “manual” distribution function. After removing the pharmaceuticals from locked containers in the hospital, she destroyed all associated paperwork. A DEA audit determined that Dul absconded with more than 35,000 pills over the course of three-and-a-half years.
The hospital, which is located in Abington, Pennsylvania, says Dul was the sole perpetrator of the crime. They also maintain there’s no evidence Dul’s actions prevented patients from receiving their prescribed medications.
Since the hospital is responsible for preventing such malfeasance under provisions of the Controlled Substances Act and associated federal regulations, the facility is on the hook for the hefty settlement.
Dul was ordered to repay approximately $65,000 to Abington Hospital-Jefferson Health after she pleaded guilty to 25 counts of possession with the intent to distribute oxycodone. Her guilty plea was entered in 2014. In addition to the fine, Dul was sentenced to six years in prison and her Pennsylvania pharmaceutical license was automatically suspended.
Since discovering the loophole in their processes that allowed Dul to steal the medication without immediately raising alarms, the hospital reports it has spent $1.96 million in advanced technology designed to prevent the problem from happening again.
“Abington Hospital takes very seriously the security, management and administration of controlled substances,” Abington Hospital-Jefferson Health President Meg McGoldrick said in a statement. “We have worked tirelessly over the past three years to ensure we have the systems and processes in place to prevent future diversions of controlled substances.”
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