Kaiser Permanente Sues Former Employee Over Drug Theft
Kaiser Permanente has sued a former pharmacist who allegedly stole prescription drugs from the HMO and sold them "under-the-table" to other pharmacies, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Kaiser Permanente filed a civil lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court in November against George Chiu, a pharmacist who worked at the HMO for six years. Chiu was arrested in May after surveillance cameras captured him taking prescription drugs from Kaiser's Antioch facility. Officers then found $85,000 worth of medication in Chiu's car and house, as well as "voluminous records of under-the-table prescription drug sales." Kaiser Permanente, according to the suit, believes that Chiu may have stolen up to $750,000 in prescription medications in the 12 months before his arrest, and that he may still have proceeds in "offshore bank accounts." The HMO received permission last month to subpoena the phone, pager and telephone records of Chiu and his wife, Virginia, who is also named in the suit. Kaiser Permanente hopes to "identify the pharmacies that are believed to have bought the drugs at up to a 40% discount." The case originated last March, after company officials realized that "significantly more" Viagra was dispensed by the Antioch warehouse "than had been dispensed to Kaiser members" (Lee, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/3).