Pharmacy investigation underway at Kincardine hospital


By Kristen Shane


South Bruce Grey Health Centre officials have called in the police to investigate an inventory discrepancy of the drug supply at the Kincardine hospital pharmacy.


The hospital corporation is also running its own investigation.


The Kincardine hospital pharmacy was conducting a monthly internal audit of its stock of drugs early last week to make sure the actual inventory matched what its computer system said it should have. The computer keeps track of the drug supply based on the amount of drugs given out through prescription fills.


“There (was) a difference between our theoretical count and our actual count,” said SBGHC president and CEO Paul Davies, speaking by phone from the Kincardine hospital where people involved in the investigation had gathered Monday morning.


Hospital staff found that the actual manual count of between four and six different drugs didn’t match the theoretical computer count, said Davies. He couldn’t say by how much the count was off. Nor could he confirm the names of the drugs involved. He did, however, confirm they could be both narcotics (more tightly controlled substances such as Tylenol 3 or Percocet) and regular prescription medications.


“That’s all part and parcel of the external and internal investigations,” he said.


“The loss of one pill within our pharmacy is significant,” said Davies. “Because everything is controlled and you shouldn’t be off that one pill.”


The hospital corporation contacted all the necessary authorities to report the problem, including insurance companies and Health Canada.


The next step is to go back through all the pharmacy transactions and pinpoint where the discrepancy came from.


The investigation is particular to the Kincardine site. It is the only SBGHC pharmacy to serve the corporation’s other sites in Chesley, Durham and Walkerton, said Davies.


The SBGHC sites also share a common computer system with the rest of the hospital pharmacies in Grey and Bruce counties, including Grey Bruce Health Services based in Owen Sound and the Hanover and District Hospital.


There is not necessarily a pharmacist at each site, said Davies. Most work is done by pharmacy technicians.


The Kincardine hospital pharmacy is not affiliated with McKechnie Pharmacy, which has ties to the medical clinic, or any other pharmacy in town.


Six staff work in Kincardine’s pharmacy department, he said. No one had been fired or suspended because of the drug discrepancy, as of Monday.


Davies said he would provide the public with more information about the ongoing investigation as he receives it.