Temple settles with feds over drug diversion

By Inquirer Staff Writer Marie McCullough:

Temple University Health System on Wednesday agreed to hire a consultant to monitor its drug dispensing systems and pay $130,000 to the U.S. government for failing to prevent diversion of controlled substances, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Philadelphia announced.

The settlement marks the close of a six-year investigation and prosecution that led to the conviction of two Temple health system doctors on drug charges.

“Hospitals must have effective controls to prevent and detect drug diversion,” U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger said in a statement.

In 2004, Temple University Hospital’s lack of drug controls enabled its then-chief resident of anesthesiology to steal Ketamine, Fentanyl, Midazolam and Morphine. He was arrested after he tried to sell the drugs to an undercover drug enforcement agent.

Controlled substances were also stolen in 2007 by an anesthesiologist at Jeanes Hospital, which is part of the Temple system. The doctor pleaded guilty in 2008.

Following the thefts, federal investigators audited five facilities in the health system and found inadequate record keeping, inaccurate inventory, and lax controls in the computerized distribution system.

Previously, Temple officials voluntarily made changes to tighten and improve hospitals’ drug dispensing system.

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