Former Kansas City pharmacist who diluted cancer drugs is leaving prison, will remain in custody

KMBZ News Staff
July 14, 2020 - 10:26 am
A headshot of Robert Courtney overlaid against a background of the exterior of Research Medical Center

KMBC / KMBZ

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Kansas City, MO - A former KC pharmacist who was sentenced to 30 years in prison for diluting drugs meant for cancer patients and others will be leaving prison early but will still remain in custody, according to documents seen by KMBZ News.

Recently, some family members of his victims have received letters from the Department of Justice informing them that Courtney would be released from incarceration at a federal prison in Colorado, and be placed in a halfway house on July 16th, before being placed on home confinement in Trimble, MO for the remainder of his sentence.  

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Due the coronavirus pandemic, the US Attorney General has directed federal prisons to place inmates with a minimal risk of recidivism on home confinement. 

According to the DOJ documents, Courtney's release from custody date is May 2, 2027.

Courtney was once the owner of the Research Medical Tower Pharmacy located at Research Medical Center in Kansas City, MO. He also owned a pharmacy in Merriam, KS.

He was sentenced in 2002 for a years-long scheme to dilute drugs in order to pocket money from each watered-down dose. 

It shook the medical community, patients and their families, and the pharmaceutical industry.

He admitted in court to intentionally diluting 98,000 prescriptions involving multiple types of drugs, which were administered by some 400 doctors, and given to 4,200 patients.

Many patients and survivors wanted Courtney charged with murder, but according to a report on CNBC, federal prosecutors at the time believed a murder charge would be hard to prove since many patients were suffering from late-stage cancer.

According to CBS News, Courtney was named as defendant in approximately 300 suits for fraud and wrongful death.   Pharmaceutical companies Eli Lilly and Bristol Myers-Squibb were named in several civil suits, with Eli Lilly settling for $48 million, and  Bristol Myers-Squibb paying out $24 million.

 

 

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