Victims of drug dilution soon to get checks

Sunday, January 11, 2004

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Victims of former pharmacist Robert R. Courtney's dilutions of cancer drugs soon will begin receiving restitution checks.

Officials of U.S. District Court in Kansas City said Friday the initial batch of checks for cancer patients and their survivors would be written and sent by registered mail in the coming week.

Slightly more than 1,000 claimants have been approved to receive equal amounts from the approximately $10.5 million restitution fund that was created mainly from Courtney's seized assets.

Courtney pleaded guilty in early 2002 to 20 counts related to his dilution of 158 chemotherapy doses of the drugs Taxil and Gemzar which he prepared at his Kansas City business, Research Pharmacy. He is serving a 30-year prison term but has appealed the sentence.

The restitution program pertains only to the cancer-drug dilutions and is separate from the hundreds of civil lawsuits that arose from the scheme.

Mailing of the checks is expected to take two to three weeks. Paige Wymore-Wynn, chief deputy clerk for the federal court in Kansas City, said each of the victims or their surviving families should receive slightly more than $10,000.

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