Abington Hospital pays $510k to settle drug diversion allegations

Abington (Pa.) Hospital-Jefferson Health will pay the United States $510,000 to resolve allegations that shortfalls in its internal controls allowed one of the hospital's pharmacists to divert more than 35,000 pills from Feb. 1, 2010 to Aug. 20, 2013.

During the period of diversion, the hospital was known as Abington Memorial Hospital. Among the stolen medications were highly addictive prescription opioids like oxycodone. In 2015, the former AMH pharmacist Renata Dul pleaded guilty to 25 counts of possession with intent to distribute oxycodone.

According to a release from the Department of Justice, AMH cooperated with the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration since the onset of the investigation to improve the facilities handling of controlled substances. The hospital has since upgraded its inpatient pharmacy computer system, installed additional security cameras, installed badge swipe access and added a rotary depository safe among other efforts to improve secure drug handling.

"Hospitals like Abington Memorial have a special responsibility to ensure that controlled substances are used for patient care and not diverted for non-medical uses," said Acting U.S. Attorney Louis Lappen. "Diversion leads to illegal sales of addictive prescription drugs that have had a devastating impact on members of our community. We commend Abington Memorial Hospital for disclosing its diversion problems and for working to improve its practices and address potential diversion by hospital personnel."

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