Thursday, November 01, 2001
She is a suspect in OxyContin case
Pharmacist admitted theft of steroid pills,federal agent testifies
Bedsaul's attorney pointed out that prednisone is not a narcotic. It is often used to treat severe cases of poison ivy, he said.
By JEN McCAFFERY
THE ROANOKE TIMES
A pharmacist at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Salem who is suspected of stealing OxyContin from there admitted to a federal agent that she had taken medicine from the VA before, according to testimony in federal court Tuesday.
Joann Ruth Bedsaul told federal agent David Spilker that she had taken prednisone, a type of steroid, from the pharmacy after she consented to let agents search her Roanoke home, car and work locker, Chief William Hendley of the VA police testified. After Spilker found the prescription in 42-year-old Bedsaul's medicine cabinet, she told him "I am guilty of stealing the pills," referring to the prednisone.
Bedsaul, who had worked for the pharmacy for 18 years, has been charged with possession with intent to distribute OxyContin and oxycodone. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jake Jacobsen presented video stills that caught Bedsaul on camera, removing a package of pills from the pharmacy's vault Sept. 22. Bedsaul later told federal agents that she "could not recall" what she had done with the package she took off a desk where it was placed to be mailed out to a patient, Hendley testified.
Bedsaul's attorney, Tony Anderson of Roanoke, pointed out that prednisone is not a narcotic like OxyContin and oxycodone, which is the active ingredient in OxyContin. Prednisone is often used to treat severe cases of poison ivy, he said.
Anderson also questioned why it took VA police officers until Oct. 3 to investigate the alleged theft of the 90 20-milligram pills of OxyContin and 30 5-milligram pills of oxycodone.
There have been numerous discrepancies in accounting for prescription narcotics dispensed there over the last 17 months, Hendley testified.
U.S. Magistrate Glen Conrad found at the end of the hearing that there was probable cause to believe that Bedsaul's actions and statements were suspicious and ruled that the prosecution could go forward.