A pharmacist who said he was driven by opiate addiction to secretly steal - and then adulterate - pain medication for end-of-life cancer patients was sentenced to prison Tuesday after an extraordinary hearing at which relatives struggled to describe being unable to ease the suffering of loved ones literally convulsed by pain in the final hours of their lives.
After three hours of wrenching testimonials, U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea sentenced 43-year old pharmacist Carl Mancini of Wolcott to 51 months in prison for tampering with and stealing pain medications. The judge said he was pressing the upper limit of the penalty range under the federal sentencing scheme, although at one point he briefly considered trying to increase it.
It is the third time Mancini has been convicted of stealing drugs or supplies while working as a licensed pharmacist in Connecticut. He lost his licence and agreed not to seek reinstatement after his second arrest in 2002, but state pharmacy regulators inexplicably restored the license at his request in 2011.
“This case demonstrates the limits of the criminal justice system,” Shea said. “There is no sentence that I could impose that would do justice in a kind of moral, universal sense of making people leave feeling whole or making people leave feeling all is right with the world again.”