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A Windsor pharmacist testified Tuesday the OPP made a fatal mistake in comparing his inventory to his sales to conclude he billed the province for $341,000 in prescriptions he never filled.

Rocco D on trial for fraud and breach of trust, testified his downtown pharmacy, Royal Windsor, didn get drugs solely from two wholesalers, as the OPP assumed. He said he also purchased inventory directly from drug manufacturers and from other pharmacies in the city a fact investigators never learned because they never bothered to ask.

D 63, is accused of submitting bogus bills to the Ontario Drug Benefits Program between February 2009 and November 2011. The OPP investigation followed an earlier audit by the Ministry of Health and an investigation by the Ontario College of Pharmacists, D testified.

The OPP lead investigator, Shae Lynn Stanbra, testified earlier in the trial that she did a analysis that showed Royal Windsor Pharmacy never had sufficient stocks of various drugs, nutritional supplements and diabetic test strips to fill the prescriptions D billed to the province.

Stanbra testified she did not interview D as part of her investigation because she had the proof she needed from drug wholesalers Kohl Frisch and AmerisourceBergen.

But D testified those companies weren his sole source for drugs. He also bought product directly from pharmaceutical manufacturers Merck and Schering. He regularly bring in stock from Royal Oasis Pharmacy where he was also part owner, or buy items from his pharmacist friend Francesco Vella at Olde Walkerville Pharmacy. Without naming other pharmacies,
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D testified he get stock from numerous others, as well.

D explained he set up a clinic for hepatitis C patients. The trial has heard drug treatments Pegetron and Pegasys would run about $1,000 per dose, and D explained he would often max out his line of credit with his drug suppliers.

He had no choice but to turn to other pharmacies for stock, he said. you cut off, you scrambling. pay them a two per cent markup, but admitted he didn keep track of how much of the drugs he got from them.

The OPP investigation showed D billed the province for about $80,000 of nutritional supplement Ensure Plus that couldn be accounted for in purchase orders. But, in asking the drug wholesalers for order amounts, police confused a billing code number assigned by the Ministry of Health with a Drug Information Number. The resulting information from the wholesalers suggested D had never bought any stock of the nutritional supplement from them.

A Ministry of Health auditor testified at the start of the trial that the province entrusts pharmacists to bill it accurately and honestly. Calling the billing process an system, John Kwan said pharmacists can get payment from the Ontario Drug Benefits Program for patients who don qualify. D contradicted that testimony, saying payments requests would be automatically rejected by the automated billing system. no way the government can be billed erroneously. returns to the witness stand Wednesday.
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