(STL.News) – A pharmacist who worked at Rite Aid in Saltville, Virginia who was filling prescriptions in the names of at least five different dogs connected to his girlfriend’s veterinary clinic, pleaded guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court in Abingdon. United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen and Jesse R. Fong, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration [DEA], Washington Field Division, made the announcement today.
Ryan Lowry Patrick, 34, of Gray, Tennessee, pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court to one count of obtaining drugs by fraud and one count of using the registration number of another in the course of acquiring a controlled substance. Patrick will be sentenced on August 28, 2020. At sentencing, he faces up to four years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.
“We place great trust in our pharmacists to ensure that controlled substances are carefully and properly dispensed. When they break this trust and divert pharmaceutical drugs for illegal purposes, the cycle of addiction continues, with all of its harms,” said First Assistant United States Attorney Daniel P. Bubar. “We will continue to tirelessly prosecute anyone who participates in the opioid crisis.”
“From the street corner to the clinic to our pharmacies, DEA Washington will continue the critical work of bringing to justice those who are taking advantage of the system for their own gain and fueling the opioid crisis in Virginia,” Special Agent in Charge Fong said today.
According to evidence provided at his guilty plea hearing by Assistant United States Attorney Whit Pierce, Patrick worked as a pharmacist at Rite Aid in Saltville, Virginia. Patrick’s girlfriend operated a veterinary clinic located in Bluff City, Tennessee.
The DEA’s investigation uncovered that Patrick was filling multiple prescriptions in the names of five dogs that belonged to Patrick and his girlfriend for his own use. The prescriptions were written by a veterinarian who worked at the veterinary clinic operated by Bailey’s girlfriend.
A review by the DEA of the Virginia Prescription Monitoring Program [PMP] confirmed that between January 7, 2019 and December 29, 2019 approximately 47 prescriptions were filled in the names of the five dogs. All of these prescriptions were allegedly issued or authorized by the veterinarian.
Agents with the DEA reviewed records at the Saltville Rite Aid and were unable to trace the origins of the prescriptions listed in the PMP. When questioned, the veterinarian confirmed that many of the prescriptions for controlled substances the DEA found at the Rite Aid had been altered, and many were simply photocopies of previously written prescriptions. She further stated that one dog had been euthanized in August 2019 and the seven prescriptions filled for him after that date were clearly unauthorized.
The investigation of this case was handled by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant United States Attorney Whit D. Pierce is prosecuting the case for the United States.