Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations
December 20, 2011: Hospital Pharmacist Sentenced to Probation, Community Service for Tampering with Hospital Pain Medications
Daniel Hamm also ordered to visit the Wyatt Detention Center
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Daniel Hamm, 26, a pharmacist at Miriam Hospital in Providence, R.I, who pleaded guilty in September 2011 to tampering with the hospital’s morphine inventory, was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith to 5 years probation and 1,000 hours of community service geared towards making presentations to pharmaceutical groups and students about the dangers of doing what he did. Judge Smith also ordered Hamm, who has remained free on unsecured bond, to visit the Wyatt Detention Center so he can talk about it in his presentations. Hamm pleaded guilty on September 23, 2011, to a federal charge of tampering with consumer products.
Hamm’s sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha.
According to information presented to the court at the time of Hamm’s guilty plea, personnel at Miriam Hospital discovered irregularities in the hospital’s morphine inventory in early 2011. Hospital staff discovered that vials of Morphine and Hydromorphone would be missing but then would reappear with the top 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.
According to information presented to the court, a subsequent investigation by Miriam Hospital staff, 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 a saline solution. Hamm then returned the vials back into a secure vault where they were kept for distribution to patients.
When confronted, Hamm admitted his actions to hospital officials. Hamm 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.
The case was prosecuted in federal court by Assistant U.S. Attorney Luis M. Matos and Rhode Island Assistant Attorney General James F. Dube.