Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Virginia
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 28, 2020
ROANOKE, Va. – Bryan Wade Lewis, a former Pharmacist at Home Choice Partners in Roanoke, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court here to tampering with a consumer product, hydromorphone, that affected interstate commerce. Acting United States Attorney Daniel P. Bubar made the announcement today following the guilty plea hearing.
Lewis, 34, of Roanoke, pleaded guilty today to one count of tampering with a consumer product. At sentencing he faces up to 10 years in prison.
“Medical workers violate the public’s trust when they divert powerful narcotics for illicit use,” Acting United States Attorney Bubar said today. “We will continue to partner with the FDA, DEA, and others, to bring to justice anyone who violates that trust and brings potential harm to patients.”
“The FDA oversees the U.S. drug supply to ensure that the medicines are safe and effective; those who knowingly tamper with medicines put patients’ health at risk,” 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 health care professionals who take advantage of their unique position and compromise their patients’ health and comfort by tampering with needed drugs.”
According to court documents, in January 2018 an employee at Home Choice Partners in Roanoke discovered a needle, alcohol pad, and a 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 a decision was made to drug test all employees.
Lewis, who was scheduled to be off work on the day of the drug test, was instructed to report to work to be administered a drug screening. However, Lewis contacted an employee and explained that he was the employee responsible for the items in the toilet. When asked, Lewis explained he had been engaging in such conduct for nine months. Lewis admitted there was a 50 ml vial of hydromorphone in the back of the narcotics cabinet that did not contain hydromorphone, but instead had been replaced, by him, with saline.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the U.S. Food, Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Virginia State Police, and the Virginia Department of Health Professions. Assistant United States Attorney Randy Ramseyer is prosecuting the case for the United States.
USAO - Virginia, Western