Pharmacist indicted, accused of stealing opioids from local hospital

Investigations

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A pharmacist has been indicted and has surrendered his license after he was accused of stealing opioids hundreds of times from a local hospital.

Joshua Johnson is facing a felony theft of property charge after allegedly stealing pain medication on the job.

Johnson’s case went before the Tennessee Board of Pharmacy in May, where they signed off on him voluntarily surrendering his license.

WREG uncovered the consent order. It states Johnson worked at St. Francis in Bartlett and was on the clock when he allegedly rigged the hospital’s automated dispenser, taking medication and getting rid of the receipt.

The consent order went on to state that between “July 14, 2018 and June 7, 2019,” he accessed the dispenser “approximately 422 times” and took more than 2,000 ampules of hydromorphone, an opioid used to treat moderate to severe pain.

State records indicate the amount he took would create 694 doses of patient controlled anesthesia.

WREG went to Johnson’s listed address. The man we spoke with said he “would rather not be involved in that.”

Johnson is represented by attorney Leslie Ballin.

“I met him recently. All the proceedings involving his license came before me,” Ballin said. “He made a decision to have a career change.”

Ballin says the case was delayed due to COVID. They’re now waiting to take a look at the state’s evidence.

“To date, the state has not had the opportunity to respond. That’s not unusual,” Ballin said.

The indictment indicates Bartlett PD is involved in the case. They told us they needed to “consult with their attorneys.”

As of now, it’s unclear what Johnson did with the drugs he’s accused of stealing. His attorney would only say, “I don’t know that he took them.”

“We take all allegations of misconduct very seriously. We fully cooperated with the authorities, and this individual is no longer employed by our hospital,” said Shelly Weiss Friedberg, a spokesperson for St. Francis Bartlett.

Johnson is due back in court at the end of the month.

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