Court papers - Pharmacist diluted drugs for the money

Tuesday, December 4, 2001

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A pharmacist told the FBI he diluted chemotherapy drugs because he owed nearly $1 million for taxes and a pledge to his church, according to court papers.

The handwritten confession was among documents filed by a federal prosecutor Monday in response to a defense motion to suppress some of Robert R. Courtney's statements to authorities.

Courtney was indicted in August on 20 federal counts of tampering, adulterating and misbranding two chemotherapy drugs prescribed by a doctor for cancer patients. He has pleaded innocent and remains held without bond.

Prosecutors had said earlier, without offering details, that money motivated Courtney to put less of the drugs Gemzar and Taxol into intravenous solutions than had been prescribed.

Such dilutions would allow Courtney, who owned two pharmacies in the Kansas City area, to pocket the profits.

Courtney wrote in the statement, signed and dated Aug. 20, that between March andJune he "diluted approximately 124 prescriptions involving 34 patients." An FBI agent also signed the document as a witness.

"This was done because of financial worries mainly due to large state and federal taxes ... This tax liability was over $600,000," he wrote.

He said he also owed another $333,000 to fulfill a commitment me made to the church's building fund.

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