FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 01, 2010
Contact: Bryan M. Doherty
DEA Public Information Officer
600 Arch Street -suite 10224
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Settlement reached with Temple University Health System
over Diversion of Controlled Substances
NOV 01 -- PHILADELPHIA - The Temple University Health System (“TUHS”), today, agreed to
pay $130,000 to the U.S. government for failing to keep proper receiving, dispensing and
inventory records of controlled substances, and failing to take effective precautions to prevent
theft or loss of controlled substances, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger.
In addition, TUHS agreed to implement a detailed Compliance Assessment Plan to review and
monitor its policies and procedures relating to controlled substances.
“Hospitals must have effective controls to prevent and detect drug diversion, in order to
prevent people from suffering significant physical harm, addiction or death when they use
controlled substances without appropriate supervision from their doctor,” Memeger said.
In 2004, Temple University Hospital’s lack of control over controlled substances allowed
its then chief resident of anesthesiology to steal 107 vials of Ketamine and smaller amounts of
Fentanyl, Midazolam and Morphine. The resident doctor, who attempted to sell the drugs to an
undercover Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) operative was charged and convicted. In addition, from January 2007 to February 2007, an anesthesiologist at Jeanes Hospital, a Temple University Health Systems facility, manipulated the computerized controlled substance distribution system to extract 35 vials of Fentanyl and five vials of Morphine for his own personal use.
DEA Special Agent in Charge John J. Bryfonski stated “The public expects our health professionals to honor their oath and follow both regulations and the law to assure the health and safety of the people they treat. When these professionals depart from their oath and the law by diverting controlled substance-pharmaceuticals from legitimate medical uses to illegal uses, DEA will investigate and hold them accountable.”
Following these thefts, DEA audited five Temple University Health Systems facilities and found that the hospital failed to keep dispensing records for certain controlled substances; failed to note on the required DEA form the number of packages of controlled substances the pharmacy received and the date it received them; failed to verify the amount of controlled substances coming into the pharmacy on each invoice; and kept inaccurate inventory of certain controlled substances.
TUHS voluntarily initiated changes to their drug dispensing system, to provide stricter
measures for accessing the medication and frequent counts of the facilities’ inventory. In
addition to the monetary settlement, TUHS agreed to implement an innovative Compliance
Assessment Plan whereby an independent consultant will survey the Temple facilities and
recommend remedial changes as necessary. The agreement requires TUHS to report to DEA discrepancies revealed during these audits.
This resolution is part of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania’s Special Focus team
Health Care Fraud initiative.
The case was investigated by DEA Philadelphia Division Diversion Group. The case was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Susan R. Becker, Auditor Allison Barnes and Healthcare Fraud Consultant Ray Uhlhorn.