UPDATE: November 29. 2017
Jonathan Click pled guilty on November 8, 2017. The sentencing hearing has been set for February 21, 2018, 02:00 PM at Hugo L Black US Courthouse, Birmingham, AL before Judge R Proctor
BIRMINGHAM– On September 25th, 2017, the U.S. Attorney’s Office charged the former lead technician at a central Alabama pharmacy with tampering with vials of opioid painkillers used in the compounding of intravenous fluid bags intended for hospice and homecare patients. U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town, Drug Enforcement Administration Assistant Special Agent in Charge Bret Hamilton and Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, Special Agent in Charge Justin D. Green announced the charge.
Prosecutors filed a one-count information charging JOHNATHON WILLIAM CLICK with tampering with consumer products in reckless disregard for the risk that another person would be placed in danger of death or bodily injury, and under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to that risk. Between December 2014 and September 2016, Click, 30, of Bessemer, removed morphine sulfate and hydromorphone hydrochloride from vials intended for use in mixing IV bags. Click replaced the drugs with another liquid, knowing the diluted vials would be dispensed to patients, according to the charge.
In conjunction with the information, prosecutors also filed a plea agreement with Click in U.S. District Court. According to the plea agreement, Click worked at Birmingham-based ContinuumRx of Central Alabama. CRX primarily distributes IV bags containing morphine and hydromorphone for palliative care. Click, as the lead pharmacy technician, prepared the vast majority of CRX’s IV bags until the company ended his employment in September 2016.
According to the plea agreement, Click diverted quantities of morphine and hydromorphone from CRX’s locked inventory by surreptitiously removing vials, withdrawing drugs from the vials and replacing the withdrawn amount with saline or sterile water. He subsequently would return the adulterated and diluted vials to the inventory, undetected, and later used those vials to compound IV bags that were distributed and administered to homecare and hospice patients. CRX’s primary customers are Alacare Home Health & Hospice, New Beacon Hospice, Lakeview Homecare & Hospice, Comfort Care Hospice and Kindred Hospice.
Former patients or family members of patients treated at any of those homecare or hospice providers between December 2014 and September 2016 may receive updates on the case by visiting the this page or calling the toll-free number: 1-866-480-8230.
The maximum penalty for tampering with consumer products is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Click must appear before a federal judge to formally enter a guilty plea.
DEA, FDA and the Alabama Board of Pharmacy investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Mohammad Khatib is prosecuting.