In less than eight months, a pharmacist managed to cart out drugs with an estimated street value of USD100,000 by manipulating inventory records of the pharmacy that he has served for eight years.

The mystery of the missing narcotics in Eugene, Oregon was uncovered when Bi-Mart pharmacy reported a significant loss of more than USD 4,600 worth of Class II narcotics, and police investigations showed that the drug inventory had been electronically tampered by a former employee.

“Bi-Mart had already conducted a thorough internal investigation which resulted in the questioning and subsequent termination of one of their pharmacists, Benjamin O'Rourke," said police officer Brad Hanneman.

Police could not ascertain what pharmacist did with the drugs

It was a scheme well covered for almost a year until the day when the pharmacy manager was filling out a prescription and reached for a bottle of 100 oxycodone tablets only to realise that the bulk bottle had just four pills. Shocked by the visibly big discrepancy of missing pills, he began to track the problem.

Upon a thorough audit, the pharmacy pinned Benjamin James O’Rourke as the culprit, who was alleged to have altered the computing of the inventory received, and subsequently pocketing a portion of the drugs, which are normally packed n 100-pill increments.

Benjamin O'Rourke, a 33-year old pharmacist in Oregon, US stands accused of 160 charges related to drugs he stole.
Benjamin O'Rourke, a 33-year old pharmacist in Oregon, US stands accused of 160 charges related to drugs he stole.

It was a premeditated spate of thefts committed between April last year and January this year. O’Rourke, who has worked for the pharmacy for eight years, was fired within days after the internal investigation was completed.

The pharmacy then handed the case over to the police, reporting an aggregate loss of 5,384 narcotics, which police estimated to have a street value of $100,000 to $300,000. The drugs included nearly 800 amphetamine pills, over 500 morphine tablets, more than 1,000 hydromorphone tablets and over 2,000 oxycodone tablets in a variety of dosage sizes.

Hanneman said,” The street value of the drugs depends on availability.” He added that some of the pills could be sold for up to USD50 each.

Pharmacist faces charges for 160 counts of various offences

Speculations that the 33-year-old pharmacist was ingesting the pills to feed his substance addiction or selling the pills for cash or perhaps to support his gambling compulsion remain unverified. The customers were not victimised by the theft, Hanneman said, and no one is believed to have been shorted on their medications.

The crux was that Bi-Mart corporation suffered the loss through the missing pills. The street value of the drugs has no credence in court and thus no effect on the charges, Hanneman explained.

Arrested and led to Lane County jail, the ex-pharmacist faces charges totalling 160 counts - 42 counts of tampering with drug records, 42 counts of computer crimes, 42 counts of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, 42 counts of controlled substance fraud and first-degree theft. MIMS

Read more:
Pharmacy executive acquitted of 25 patient deaths from meningitis outbreak
Pharmacist fights for license after counterfeit Viagra found in children’s hospital
Doctor admits to making millions from selling prescription drugs to addicts