Pharmacist Sued For Destroying Cancer Drugs Worth $1.2 Million
(Haaretz) — An Israeli HMO filed a 4.5-million-shekel ($1.2 million) lawsuit against a former employee last Tuesday, after he admitted destroying cancer drugs worth 4 million shekels in 2015.
The pharmacist, a resident of the southern Bedouin town of Kseifa, had been employed by Clalit Health Services for 10 years. He said in a statement he gave to the organization’s security officer that he destroyed at least some of the drugs as revenge for not being promoted.
In its lawsuit, Clalit said the destroyed medicine that could have saved lives, or at least improved the quality of patients’ lives. “The medicine cannot be returned, but the defendant can be forced to pay for them and pay for his actions,” the suit stated.
The suit, backed by testimonies gathered by the security officer and order forms of oncological medicines, says the defendant destroyed the drugs on three separate occasions.
The first time, he allegedly ordered and then destroyed 94,000-shekels-worth of medicines. In his statement, he said this had been an accident. He said he left the drugs on a table in the storeroom, when he was called to the counter for urgent business.
A few days later, he remembered the medicines – which were supposed to be refrigerated – and found them still in the storeroom. “Since it was impossible to use them … I decided to destroy them without consulting anyone,” he said.
He explained the second round of destruction by saying he needed to hide a professional error he had made in a drug order form. According to Clalit’s calculations, the medicines destroyed this time were worth about 500,000 shekels.
In the third round, 3.3 million-shekels-worth of medicines were destroyed.
The pharmacist told the security officer that this time it wasn’t a mistake. “I did it because I wanted to take revenge on the organization,” he said, explaining that he was not promoted to a position he wanted and hadn’t been informed that a tender was held for the post that had been promised to him.
“I kept thinking the system had screwed me and so decided to take revenge – to harm the system, at least financially,” he said. “I ordered expensive medications: I’d pretend to distribute them to treatment rooms, but instead I’d throw them into boxes” to be collected by a company that destroys medicines.
The pharmacist was fired without compensation or prior notice.
Initially, Clalit wanted to await the outcome of the criminal process against the defendant. But since this was proceeding slowly, it decided to file a civil lawsuit, it said. The case was returned to the police some two months ago to complete their investigation, the prosecution said.
The pharmacist, who has not been named, was not available for comment.