Druggists withheld pills, jury told
Pharmacist Charles Hartleib testified that Kimberly Rogers visited him on June 15, 2001, with a prescription for 540 tablets of amitriptyline.
He said he refused to fill the prescription in its entirety because the dosage had been increased from 250 milligrams to 300 milligrams per pill, the maximum allowed for the drug.
He said he was concerned that she might not be able to handle the stronger dose.
Instead, Mr. Hartleib said he gave her 60 pills and told her to return a few days later once she had tried the increased dosage.
Later that afternoon, Ms. Rogers phoned a second pharmacy and tried to get the full prescription filled over the phone.
However, pharmacist Terry Bristow checked her drug-plan records and discovered Ms. Rogers had visited the first pharmacy earlier in the day.
He refused to hand over any amitriptyline pills, but did fill a prescription for pain medicine.
The inquest has heard that Ms. Rogers, 40, died from an overdose of amitriptyline, prescribed to fight depression and prevent migraine headaches.
She had stockpiled more than 1,300 pills between late May and the time of her death in early August of 2001.
On June 18, three days after her first attempt, Ms. Rogers returned to Mr. Hartleib's pharmacy and successfully acquired 180 amitriptyline pills.
Mr. Hartleib said he filled that prescription after discovering the city had agreed to pay all prescriptions for Ms. Rogers, but only until the end of July.
Ms. Rogers was eight months pregnant when her badly decomposed body was found in her apartment during a blistering heat wave.
She had been sentenced to six months of house arrest after pleading guilty to theft over $5,000 for collecting $14,000 in welfare benefits while on student loans.
Mr. Hartleib said he caught Ms. Rogers trying to alter a prescription for Tylenol in the fall of 1999.
He told her not to do it again and put a warning on her records to let his staff know that Ms. Rogers had been caught doctoring prescriptions. "She was confronted and told of the seriousness and that it was a criminal offence," Mr. Hartleib said. "I put a note to alert other pharmacists that this had happened."
Pharmacists in Ontario have no legal duty or responsibility to share information on clients with other pharmacists or doctors, Mr. Hartleib said.