Minnesota Pharmacist Pleads Guilty to Misappropriating and Adulterating Prescription Pain Medication
MINNEAPOLIS – A Minneapolis woman has pleaded guilty to misappropriating and adulterating prescription morphine while working as a pharmacist.
According to court documents, on October 30, 2019, Jennifer Lee Draheim, 42, a pharmacist at Coburn’s Pharmacy in Ramsey, removed a bottle of morphine sulfate from the Scheduled Drug Cabinet and poured a quantity of the morphine from the stock bottle into a small container for her own personal use. She added water to the bottle to replace the morphine she took, thereby reducing the drug’s quality and strength. Draheim returned the diluted bottle of morphine to the Scheduled Drug Cabinet, where it was held in the pharmacy’s inventory for the purpose of filling customer prescriptions.
“The diversion of pharmaceuticals is a dangerous path that can lead to addiction, overdose and even death,” DEA Omaha Division Special Agent in Charge Justin C. King said. “We take diversion seriously as it impacts the person misusing the medication and also those for whom the prescription was intended. In this case, Jennifer Draheim’s actions put her life in danger and also affected those who were in need of morphine sulfate but instead received a tainted, watered-down medication. We applaud Coborn’s Inc., for alerting authorities to the diversion and our partners in the FDA for their work on this investigation.”
“The FDA oversees the U.S. drug supply to ensure that it is safe and effective, and those who knowingly adulterate medicines put patients’ health at risk,” said Special Agent in Charge Lynda M. Burdelik, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Chicago Field Office. “We will continue to protect the public health and bring to justice health care professionals who take advantage of their unique position and compromise their patients’ health and comfort.”
Draheim pleaded guilty July 19, before U.S. District Judge Nancy E. Brasel to one count of adulteration of a drug. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled at a later time.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren O. Roso is prosecuting the case.