Prison Pharmacy Problems

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An audit of the state prison pharmacy system shows a $500,000 drug shortage.

Officials believe the problem is due to sloppy accounting practices. The Department of Corrections' inspector general, Mike Rulo, says there's no indication narcotics have been diverted or stolen.

Auditors began the probe 16 months ago and discovered errors in inventory records for several expensive anti-psychotic drugs and other pharmaceuticals.

There were inventory discrepancies in 20 of 22 drugs sampled. The auditors are uncertain whether the drugs are missing or counts are inaccurate.

The prison system's director of clinical services, Barry Pardus, says there's little if any inventory control in the system and no clear process to track drugs through it.

The pharmacy system distributes $8 million in drugs annually to nearly 20,000 prison inmates around the state.

Last year, corrections officials asked the Legislature to transfer more than $436,000 from other prison accounts to help cover a shortfall in the pharmacy budget.