FORMER PITTSFIELD PHARMACIST SENTENCED IN OXYCONTIN TAMPERING CASE
BOSTON - A former Pittsfield pharmacist was sentenced to three years in prison yesterday, for tampering with consumer products, relating to her theft of OxyContin pills from the pharmacy where she worked.
In addition to three years in prison, followed by two years of supervised release, U.S. District Judge Michael A. Ponsor ordered NICOLE BOMBARDIER, 31, of Cheshire, to pay a $12,500 fine and pay $3,000 in restitution to Price Chopper Pharmacy and restitution, if any, to an individual who received the tampered medication and was hospitalized as a result. BOMBARDIER had pleaded guilty to one count of tampering with consumer products, in March of 2011.
Between May and September 2008, while working as a pharmacist at Price Chopper Pharmacy in Pittsfield, BOMBARDIER stole at least 239 OxyContin (80 mg) pills from three different bottles that were intended for customers, for her personal use. She also replaced the stolen OxyContin pills with two other medications, which were used in the treatment of high blood pressure. She then placed the tampered bottles back into the pharmacy’s inventory to be dispensed to customers. An individual who was supposed to have received OxyContin with a valid prescription instead received a medication used to lower blood pressure, resulting in two hospitalizations and serious bodily injury.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said, “Pharmacists are entrusted with dispensing life saving and assisting drugs, and patients should feel confident that they are being supplied the appropriate drug and dosages from their pharmacy. This prosecution and sentence should send a message not only to those responsible for dispensing drugs, but to the patient community, that the government will continue to proactively and aggressively investigate these types of cases.”
“The FDA-Office of Criminal Investigations is fully committed to investigating and supporting the prosecution of those who may endanger the public’s health and safety by tampering with prescription drugs. We will utilize all available methods at our disposal and as such, the FDA Forensic Chemistry Center conducted conclusive forensic analyses to support our findings in this investigation. I commend the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their diligence,” said Mark Dragonetti, Special Agent in Charge, FDA-Office of Criminal Investigations, New York Field Office.
U.S. Attorney Ortiz; SAC Dragonetti; Chief Michael Wynn of the Pittsfield Police Department; and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy made the announcement. Assistance in the investigation was provided by the Food and Drug Administration Forensic Chemistry Center and the U.S. Secret Service’s Forensic Services Division. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle L. Dineen Jerrett of Ortiz’s Health Care Fraud Unit.