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WakeMed Pharmacist Charged With Stealing Medication

Posted February 7, 2008

— The manager of WakeMed Raleigh's pharmacy was fired Thursday after being charged with stealing medication.

Investigators said Scott Wayne Savage, 30, stole a generic form of the drug Ritalin from the hospital's inventory. He was charged with acquiring or obtaining possession of a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception or subterfuge, according to court documents.

WakeMed officials said a sophisticated system for tracking drugs as they are dispensed alerted them that some medication had disappeared.

"Almost immediately, we got an indication that there was an issue with the inventory," Deborah Friberg, vice-president of WakeMed, said.

An investigation turned up surveillance footage of Savage taking generic form of Ritalin from the pharmacy's supply. Savage was terminated from the hospital, and his pharmacist's license was suspended, officials said.

"I think first and foremost, we are disappointed," Friberg said. "We go to great lengths to make sure that the employees we have in place, the people that we hire meet only the highest standards."

The hospital will do an audit of all its prescription drug inventory and review the system that tracks when and how many drugs are dispensed, Friberg said.

Savage declined to comment on the case Thursday.

Ritalin is most commonly prescribed to children and adolescents who suffer from attention-deficit disorder. However, when crushed into powder and snorted, Ritalin and its generic forms can have the same affect as cocaine and speed on a person who does not need the drug.

Savage had been hired by WakeMed a couple months ago after working as a pharmacist for five years. He was graduated from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

He also served as a speaker for Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.

Police released Savage after he signed a written promise to appear at his first scheduled court appearance at 9 a.m. Friday.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • KniftyKnitter Feb 8, 2008


    I don't believe your situation was a cover-up, but a mistake. And, yes, pharmacists do make mistakes. Unfortunately, they are very overworked and the general public has NO idea everything a pharmacist actually does. They think that they can walk in, hand the pharmacist a prescription, and the pharmacist can then immediately go get the bottle off the shelf and count out the pills and hand it over. NOT!!!

    As far as the question to why he took GENERIC ritalin, it's quite probable that the hospital only stocks the generic ritalin.....of course, they still charge you out the whazoo for it!!

  • catwoman1 Feb 8, 2008

    It's not just pharmacists that do this sort of thing..doctors do it too. Just check out NC Medboards website to see all the sanctioned docs..drugs, alcoholism, sexual misconduct...what a shame...a total waste of an education regardless of where he went to college. And yes, he will lose his license for this.

  • wakeresident Feb 8, 2008

    seankelly - School of Pharmacy is synonymous with PharmD. That's the degree they offer. You can go beyond it, but graduating from pharm school gives you a pharmd. But I was wrong - some do not have it. However, these are the ones who graduated prior to 2000 or somewhere around that, who didn't go back and get the PharmD. It is now the only one you can get, and this guy graduated after 2000 (he was a year behind my husband). So he has one. The BS is no longer offered. So if you are not currently a pharmacist, you will get a PharmD. His license was suspended immediately upon his arrest. There can be a hearing to reinstate it. There is no difference between your number and your license. There is a DEA license, but it is issued to the pharmacy, not the pharmacist.

  • nowon_yuno Feb 8, 2008


    Spelling mistake aside, I posted another comment with links to back up my previous post and yes people are abusing it because of its effects. I got the "its like cocaine without the guilt" part from the great liberal rag Rolling Stone magazine.

  • In my humble opinion... Feb 8, 2008

    b-man - I agree with your sentiment that publicizing the method of consumption is not really necessary. But, at the same time, this is by no means a new fad. I had a roommate in college who snorted Ritalin (said it helped him to focus) and that's been 11 years ago.

    My point is that a kid who has a desire to be involved in something like this, probably already knows all about it.

  • b-man Feb 8, 2008

    Maybe wral doesnt need to tell that if you crush it up its like cocaine. If kids or people didnt know it, they do now. Lets just show them how to snort it too.

  • 1Rx4FN Feb 8, 2008

    Plus, there are areas to practice pharmacy that do not require you to be in direct contact with medications (pharmaceutical research, drug information, medical communications, etc). The main point is for him to get is life back together which I hope he can do.
    I love all of the "pharmacy wall of silence" and conspiracy theories. It is your duty as a pharmacist to report an impared worker for their sake and the publics.

  • 1Rx4FN Feb 8, 2008

    The PharmD program was phased in during the late 90s in most schools of pharmacy. During this time you could either graduate with a RPh or "track in" to the PharmD program. As of 2000-2001 it was manditory that all schools have a PharmD program where everyone graduated with this degree. This program provides pharmacy students with more exposure to disease state management and added impact in patient care. Pharmacists that graduated before this time can still be licensed with a RPh degree. I have several friends that only have this degree and practice in all types of pharmaceutical settings.
    There is a program in NC to assist impaired pharmacists with recovery and restoration of their license. These programs are also available for dentists, vets, physicians, lawyers, etc. They are in place to monitor recovery and ensure public safety if and when a pharmacist wants to try and restore their license and practice again.

  • TheWayISeeIt Feb 8, 2008

    Just another Pillbilly. Apparently this is really common with folks who are on Ritalin and will sell their pills for cash. Not a good idea. With the insurance and pharmaceuticals as costly as they are now, you can bet that, as an insurance holder, you're paying for people's Rx drug habits.

  • seankelly15 Feb 8, 2008

    wakeresident - I have looked through the requirements for licensure and I do not see any mention of a PharmD degree - it simply says a "school of pharmacy". A doctor of pharmacy degree is offered by UNC and they have a program for current pharmicists who wish to obtain the degree, but nowhere in their documents is there any mention of a PharmD as a requirement for licensure. I still think that there maybe some confusion between the suspension of the FDA drug number versus suspension of a license. I still do not see how you can be suspended without due process.