Former Roanoke pharmacist sentenced for drug tampering

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Published: Jan. 29, 2021 at 12:16 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ/US Attorney’s Office Release) - A former pharmacist in Roanoke has been sentenced in U.S. District Court for tampering with a consumer product, hydromorphone, a pain reliever.

Bryan Lewis, 35, who worked at Home Choice Partners, was sentenced to 12 months and 1 day in federal prison. He pleaded guilty in September 2020 to one count of tampering with a consumer product.

“Tampering with powerful narcotics can harm patients and will not be tolerated,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel P. Bubar. “We appreciate the good work on this case by FDA, DEA, DHP, and VSP that brought Lewis to justice and demonstrates our commitment to ensure the public receives safe and unadulterated medication.”

“Those who knowingly tamper with and steal medicines risk harming patients by depriving them of their prescribed therapies,” said Special Agent in Charge Mark S. McCormack, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Metro Washington Field Office. “We will continue to protect the public health and bring to justice healthcare professionals and others who take advantage of their position and compromise patients’ health and comfort by tampering with needed drugs.”

According to court documents, in January 2018 another employee at Home Choice Partners in Roanoke found a needle, alcohol pad, and bloody tissue in the toilet of an employee bathroom and reported it to another employee. When asked by that employee if he knew anything about the items, Lewis said the items may have fallen out of his pocket. The employee contacted human resources, and all employees were given drug tests.

Court documents indicate Lewis, who was scheduled to be off work on the day of the drug test, was told to report to work to be given a drug screening. Instead, Lewis told an employee he was responsible for the items in the toilet. He said he had been engaging in such conduct for nine months. Lewis admitted there was a 50-ml vial of hydromorphone in the back of a narcotics cabinet that did not contain hydromorphone, but instead had been replaced, by him, with saline, according to Bubar.

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