In a notice of claim filed with the BC Supreme Court in Salmon Arm on June 19, Interior Health claims former Shuswap Lake General Hospital pharmacist colluded with a local pharmacy owner in the sale of misappropriated medications. (File photo)

Interior Health suing former Shuswap hospital employee, pharmacist for alleged drug sales scheme

Health authority claims Salmon Arm hospital pharmacist conspired with pharmacy owner

The Interior Health Authority has launched legal action against a former employee and a Salmon Arm pharmacist for an alleged conspiracy involving the sale of misappropriated medications.

In a notice of civil claim filed with the B.C. Supreme Court in Salmon Arm on June 19, 2020, Interior Health (IH) alleges that between 2004 and 2018, Ian Petterson, a former pharmacist at Shuswap Lake General Hospital, had conspired in unlawful conduct with Laurent Roy who, during this period, was a pharmacist and owner of Remedy’s RX by McGuire Lake.

In the notice of claim, IH states between 1994 and 2018, Petterson was employed by the health authority as a staff pharmacist, responsible for the ordering and dispensing of medication, as well as receiving inventory, pricing and storing medications and other products at the pharmacy. In 2016, Petterson was promoted to manager of pharmacy services.

IH claims that around December, 2004, Petterson began “wrongfully manipulating” pharmacy transactions for medication sales to Remedy’s. IH alleges Petterson removed medication from the pharmacy inventory without invoicing it, and then sold it to Remedy’s for cash which he kept.

IH also claims Petterson was manipulating transactions in the pharmacy record system, disposed of invoices from Remedy’s and personally delivered medication to Remedy’s and Roy.

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The health authority claims this continued after Jan. 29, 2012, when the B.C. Provincial Health Services Authority notified pharmacies that Interior Health would no longer supply medication to businesses unless for emergency need.

IH alleges Roy communicated with Petterson directly to order pharmacy medication, paid Petterson in cash for medication sold at below market prices and manipulated Remedy’s inventory system to conceal medications purchased from Petterson.

In its notice of claim, IH stated an internal investigation leading to Petterson’s termination in October 2018 was initiated in September of that year after an employee at Remedy’s reported seeing a bag of cash labeled “SLGH $500,” which Roy had told another employee would be picked up by Petterson.

As of June 29, 2020, Roy was still registered as a pharmacist with the B.C. College of Pharmacists. Petterson was not.

None of the allegations by Interior Health in the notice of claim have been proven in court.

Interior Health is seeking compensation for loss of revenue and damages from Petterson and Roy, who have up to 35 days from June 19 to file a response.

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