Former pharmacist loses license for diluting drugs
By Justin Wier
A former pharmacist who admitted to diluting prescription antibiotics will never work in a pharmacy again.
Ernest Perrin, 28, of Boardman forfeited his pharmacist’s license as a condition of five years’ probation imposed Thursday by Judge R. Scott Krichbaum in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
Perrin will also serve 100 hours of community service.
Earlier this year, Perrin pleaded guilty to illegal processing of drug documents and misdemeanor tampering with evidence.
Perrin diluted the drugs in January and February 2017 while he worked as a pharmacy director for Select Specialty Hospital Regional Pharmacy on Market Street in Boardman.
Assistant County Prosecutor Kenneth Cardinal said Perrin felt pressured by his employer to increase profits, but his employer reported him to the Ohio Board of Pharmacy when it realized what he did.
“His expectation of somebody patting him on the back was met with handcuffs instead,” Cardinal said.
“I felt backed into a corner,” Perrin told the court. “I made a grievous and very, very misguided decision, and it completely backfired.”
Atty. J. Gerald Ingram, who represented Perrin, said his client found himself in a corporate structure that put emphasis on frugality and he lacked the maturity to deal with that pressure.
“He was a kid in a grown-up’s job,” Ingram said. “He certainly didn’t deal with it appropriately. He somehow came up with this hare-brained scheme.”
Judge Krichbaum told Perrin he was “playing with fire.”
“What is most offensive to me about all this is that you ... just threw caution to the wind as far as the health of these patients was concerned,” the judge said.
The pharmacy board claims Perrin administered 105 vials of one antibiotic when his pharmacy only ordered nine vials. In three other cases, Perrin administered a greater number of vials than the pharmacy possessed.
Doctors, however, said they could not definitively find that the diluted dosages resulted in harm to the patients.
Both Ingram and Judge Krichbaum said they had never seen a case like Perrin’s.
“This is not a drug abuse or drug trafficking case,” Judge Krichbuam said. “It’s truly unique.”