Operation: Diluted Trust

On May 27, 2001, a nurse in Kansas City oncologist Dr. Hunter-Hicks’ office placed a five c.c. sample of Taxol chemotherapy medicine in a vial package and sent it to the National Medical Services Laboratory. On June 12, 2001, the tested lab result arrived back. The Taxol sample from the lab was a bombshell. It had approximately one-third of the amount of Taxol the doctor had ordered. Diluted medication could result in serious, possibly fatal results.

In September 2001, the FBI opened a new case file: Operation Diluted Trust. Overseen by FBI Director Robert S. Muller III, Diluted Trust was the FBI’s highest priority case in the nation until the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

The FBI discovered that pharmacist responsible for the scam, Robert Ray Courtney, had been diluting chemotherapy drugs for years and had brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars. But beyond the crime of overcharging for diluted medication was the human toll it took. At least 4,200 patients were affected with at least 40 known deaths. This was the first case of its kind in American medical history.

Operation Diluted Trust is the story of Robert Ray Courtney, the FBI case against him, and the devastation he wrought among thousands of patients and their families.

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