A former New York City pharmacy executive has been charged for stealing narcotic painkiller, oxycodone pills, worth $5.6 million.
Bridget Brennan, New York City Special Narcotics Prosecutor said that 47-year old Anthony D'Alessandro, a former director of pharmacy services at Beth Israel Medical Center, has been charged for stealing around 200,000 oxycodone pills from the medical center over the last five years.
"One rogue pharmacist was responsible for the diversion of nearly 200,000 addictive pills. This case underscores the vigilance required when addictive medication with a high resale value is readily available," per Brennan.
D'Alessandro started stealing the painkillers in 2009 and was caught in 2014 following an anonymous tip. The president of Mount Sinai Health System, which merged with Beth Israel's parent company in 2013 received a letter that contained details of D'Alessandro's wrong doing. The letter also gave several computerized records of the date of requisitions, time and quantity.
Oxycodone pills have a high demand in the black market. Brennan points out that several deaths have also been reported after overdose of oxycodone. However, prosecutors have not held D'Alessandro responsible for any deaths as there is no evidence show where the pills went after they left the medical center.
D'Alessandro admitted in a written statement that he has in fact stolen the pills from the hospital to treat himself from ankle and foot pain. D'Alessandro's lawyer Joseph V. Sorrentino says that his client is not "the head of a drug trafficking organization."
Ryan Sakacs, a prosecutor, says that D'Alessandro had a urine test on April 11 this year and the results did not find any trace of oxycodone. Sakacs claims that D'Alessandro would have died if he consumed all the stolen pills.
Prosecutors have charged D'Alessandro for stealing pills on at least 218 different dates. D'Alessandro took them out from the vault they were stored in and put notations in the medical center's inventory system to reflect that they were actually being used for research, which did not exist. Prosecutors suggest that on one occasion D'Alessandro stole 1,500 oxycodone pills, which is worth $30,000 in the black market.
D'Alessandro was sacked in April this year after the hospital authorities confirmed the theft. Brennan suggests that D'Alessandro was not addicted to oxycodone pills but committed the theft due to financial reasons. Brennan also points out that D'Alessandro has financial problems since 2008.
D'Alessandro now faces 15 years or life imprisonment as punishment.