testify to filling Rogers' prescriptions
Two Sudbury pharmacists, Charles J. Hartleib and Terry Bristow, testified Thursday at the coroner's inquest into her death that they had filled prescriptions for the drug to her.
Rogers, 40, was serving a six-month conditional sentence for welfare fraud that permitted her to leave her Sudbury apartment for only three hours per week and to attend medical appointments. She died in her apartment during a heat wave and was eight months pregnant at the time.
Rogers had a three-month prescription for the anti-depressant filled during the month of June on three separate visits. She received 60 tablets on one occasion, 120 on the next and then 360.
Hartleib testified that a warning appeared on Rogers' medication bottles about an attempt to forge a Tylenol 3 prescription.
"There was an incident, in mid 2000, where she presented a prescription to the pharmacist ... and some figures were altered for the quantity of tablets," he said.
The seriousness "of doing so" was explained to her because it is a narcotic. Hartleib said a call to her physician would have been made to make him aware of the situation.
The intention of putting the warning on the bottle labels would be to alert the pharmacists at that pharmacy only.
Hartleib also described Amitryptaline as "potent medication" and said Rogers was the only customer with a prescription for 300 mg daily.
Bristow testified that he had also filled prescriptions for Rogers in July, 2001. A three-month supply for 540 tablets was dispensed on two separate occasions 180 tablets one time and the remaining 360 on another day.
Al O'Marra, coroner's counsel, asked the pharmacist if there was any mechanism in place to see if prescriptions had been filled previously since a three-month supply had been filled in June.
He said that even if pharmacists receive information about prescriptions being refilled too soon, double doctoring or poly-pharmacing (having prescriptions filled at more than one pharmacy), "there is not much we can do with it."
Unlike British Columbia, Bristow said, pharmacists in Ontario have no access to medication profiles of customers. "Our process is just a billing one," he said. In B.C., all medications prescribed would be on a central system.
He said under cross-examination that it would be a "good system" to have in place and the information could possibly be shared with physicians.
Carmen Marleau-Woitowich, an eligibility review officer with the social assistance office in Sudbury, said Rogers' social benefits were reinstated in May 2001 after being terminated the previous fall.
Rogers was collecting Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loans while on social assistance and was cut off from both the last semester of her college program.
The overpayment recovery process had begun with 10 per cent being deducted from her social assistance. Her overpayment was at more than $13,000. Her deduction was later reduced to five per cent because of hardship.
On April 25, 2001, she appeared in court and pleaded guilty to fraud over $5,000. She was cut off from her social assistance for three months and sentenced to a six-month conditional sentence in her home.
Marleau-Woitowich testified Rogers was shocked by the sentence handed down and sat down in a chair, but was told by the judge to remain standing since the sentencing continued.
The inquest continues today at the Sudbury Court House.