- Two employees in the Emory University Hospital Midtown pharmacy illegally diverted more than a million doses of controlled substances in a scheme that lasted nearly five years, The Augusta Chronicle reported.
- The diverted drugs included alprazolam, sold under the brand name Xanax, for treatment of anxiety, and pain medications codeine and hydrocodone.
- The theft came to light in a consent order between the hospital and the Georgia Board of Pharmacy, finalized in February.
The Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency initiated a criminal investigation of the employees, who were fired. The incident was also reported the local law enforcement and the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Chronicle said.
The diversion scheme, which ran from October 2008 to July 2013, resulted in “significant financial losses” to the hospital, according to the consent order. Hospitals officials caught wind of it when a pharmacy technician made a single purchase of various level controlled substances.
To divert the drugs, the employees misappropriated credentials from a pharmacy buyer, manipulated the hospital’s system to hide the unauthorized purchases and circumvented the normal receiving and inventory process.
Emory said it was cooperating fully with the investigation and that no patients had been harmed. The consent order puts the hospital’s pharmacy license on three-year probation and carries a $200,000 fine.