Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations
September 26, 2011: Hospital Pharmacist Pleads Guilty to Tampering with Pain Medications
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A pharmacist at Miriam Hospital in Providence, R.I, pled guilty in federal court in Providence on Friday to tampering with the hospital’s morphine inventory in 2011, it was announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha.
Daniel Hamm, 26, of Providence, pled guilty to one count of tampering with consumer products, and faces maximum sentences of up to 10 years in federal prison; 3 years of supervised release; and a fine of $250,000 when he is sentenced on December 22, 2011, by U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith.
According to court records and information presented to the Court at the time of Hamm’s guilty plea, in early 2011, personnel at Miriam Hospital discovered irregularities in the hospital’s morphine inventory. The hospital discovered that from January to April 2011, vials of Morphine and Hydromorphone would be missing that then would reappear with the top appearing to having been removed and resealed with clear glue.
Testing of one of the vials of Hydromorphone revealed that it had only 6 % of its normal concentration of active ingredient, demonstrating that it had been diluted with a liquid. Subsequent investigation by Miriam, including review of video surveillance, revealed that Hamm was diluting Morphine and Hydromorphone by removing a portion of the liquid from vials and replacing the missing amount with saline solution and returning the vials back into a secure vault where they were kept for distribution at the Hospital
Hamm was confronted by Miriam officials and admitted his actions. He also admitted his actions to investigators for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations and the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control and Patient Abuse Unit.
Hamm remains free on $5,000 unsecured bond pending sentencing.
The case is being co-prosecuted in federal court by Assistant U.S. Attorney Luis M. Matos and Rhode Island Assistant Attorney General James F. Dube.
The matter was investigated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations and the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control and Patient Abuse Unit.