Kentucky hospital to pay $4.3M after employee stole 60K doses of narcotics

Pikeville Medical Center in Lexington, Ky., will pay $4.39 million to resolve allegations that its failure to keep proper records resulted in the diversion of more than 60,000 opioid doses from its pharmacy, the U.S. Department of Justice said Dec. 7.

The settlement represents the third-largest civil penalty a hospital has received under the Controlled Substances Act. The Justice Department contends that Pikeville Medical Center violated various recordkeeping provisions by failing to complete accurate inventory and dispensing records for Schedule II controlled substances. 

These failures allegedly allowed a former pharmacy technician at Pikeville Medical Center to divert more than 60,000 dosage units of oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone between 2016 and 2018, according to the federal government. The pharmacy technician and her husband, who distributed the drugs to the community, pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute Schedule II controlled substances.

Pikeville Medical Center self-reported the division and cooperated with the Drug Enforcement Administration on an investigation. The hospital has agreed to share drug inventory data with the DEA every six months and will allow the agency to conduct unannounced visits for the next three years, among other commitments. 

Pikeville Medical Center did not admit liability as part of the settlement. 

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