Killer Pharmacist Who Diluted Life-Saving Medication To Be Freed From Jail


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A former disgraced pharmacist who was sentenced to jail over 20 years in the past for diluting medication for an inexpensive revenue—impacting over 4,000 sufferers and certain resulting in the deaths of AIDS and most cancers sufferers—will quickly stroll free.

The Kansas Metropolis Star reports that Missouri native Robert Ray Courtney, 71, was convicted of diluting sufferers’ medicines to deal with severe circumstances comparable to most cancers, AIDS, a number of sclerosis, and extra over 20 years in the past. Whereas Courtney has not been charged with homicide, a prosecuting legal professional stated the person is “one of the crucial prolific serial killers.”

He primarily blended intravenous medication no matter how crucial they have been to sufferers residing with severe circumstances. All of the whereas, Courtney was supposedly an upstanding member of a church neighborhood at Northland Cathedral, an Assemblies of God megachurch in Kansas Metropolis, Missouri. Courtney was additionally the primary character in License To Kill: Lethal Pharmacist that streamed on Oxygen in 2020. He was additionally featured in a 2010 documentary collection episode on American Greed that aired on CNBC.

Courtney started his crime spree in 1990, as soon as he discovered he might swap out costly medicines with generic medication he might purchase within the grey market, making a fortune. However that didn’t fulfill his grasping urges, so he began diluting chemotherapy medication to multiply doses. By the late ‘90s, Courtney was diluting a swath of most cancers and AIDS medication that in all probability led to the deaths of sufferers who trusted him. (As in the event that they didn’t have already got sufficient to fret about.) Not only were his patients not improving, however chemo sufferers didn’t appear to exhibit the conventional devastating uncomfortable side effects of the drug.

Take into account that all through the investigation the FBI and FDA initially wouldn’t settle for {that a} licensed pharmacist would do such a factor deliberately. However he did.

Courtney pleaded responsible on Feb. 27, 2002 to deliberately diluting over 98,000 prescriptions for a number of sorts of life-saving medication. He was formally charged with tampering with medication, adulteration or mislabeling of medicine, however given a hefty sentence as a result of seriousness of his actions.

Police estimated that his pharmacy scheme might have impacted some 4,200 sufferers. Courtney was sentenced in federal courtroom in December 2002 to a most of 30 years, plus a $25,000 high quality and $10.4 million in restitution in accordance with courtroom information. And in accordance with Bureau of Prisons information, Courtney is at the moment incarcerated at a federal jail in Littleton, Colorado.

Victims and their households stated they obtained a letter indicating that Courtney will probably be launched June 20 to a midway home in Springfield, Missouri. He’s anticipated to stay there till his launch on Could 2, 2026. 

Legal professional Michael Ketchmark, who represented 275 households in wrongful loss of life lawsuits towards Courtney, stated in a telephone interview Monday that his telephone “has been lit up all day with Robert Courtney’s victims.”

“The uncooked ache and emotion is overwhelming,” he stated. “For my part, he is likely one of the most prolific serial killers,” Ketchmark stated. “He diluted chemotherapy medication that individuals want after they’re combating for his or her life and he took away their hope and he took away the lifetime of his victims.” 

Ketchmark known as on the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Workplace to deliver fees. “It’s our hope that that may occur. There’s loads of justice nonetheless to be delivered to this man. He ought to by no means stroll free once more.”

Courtney’s insurance coverage firm agreed to pay $35 million to victims, and two pharmaceutical makers paid $71 million in settlements.

Pharmacists Behaving Badly

Excessive Instances has reported on the strain to prescribe painkillers in the pharmaceutical industry that has wreaked havoc on American society. Pain Hustlers, a latest movie directed by BAFTA award winner David Yates, follows a mom who will get entangled with a failing pharmaceutical startup and the habit it results in. 

The CDC says there were 80,411 overdose deaths in 2021—75.4% of all drug overdose deaths concerned opioids, with 88% of opioid overdoses being artificial. So given these numbers, you need to be extra frightened about pharmaceutical abuse than road heroin. Which means opioids killed extra Individuals—throughout 2021 alone—than the Vietnam War.

The Pharmacist debuted in 2020 on Netflix, a docuseries that follows a Louisiana pharmacist who takes excessive measures to show the “rampant corruption behind the opioid habit disaster.”

There’s a flood of different fashionable opioid-themed exhibits: Netflix’s 2023 drama collection Painkiller starring Matthew Broderick, Uzo Aduba, Taylor Kitsch and West Duchovny briefly took the highest spot on the platform. 

Netflix reported that Painkiller has two sources, the 2003 book Ache Killer by Barry Meier and the 2017 New Yorker article, “The Household That Constructed an Empire of Ache” by Patrick Radden Keefe, which was later expanded into Keefe’s 2021 book Empire of Ache.



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