Calgary pharmacist charged after 33,000 opioid tablets stolen from Okotoks pharmacy

Click to play video: 'Calgary pharmacist facing criminal charges after thousands of pills go missing' Calgary pharmacist facing criminal charges after thousands of pills go missing
WATCH: Concerning charges have been laid against a Calgary pharmacist. The woman is accused of stealing opioids from the pharmacy she worked at for her own personal use. As Jill Croteau reports, it isn't the first time – Dec 7, 2017
A 52-year-old pharmacist from Calgary has been charged in connection with “a significant amount of narcotics [that] had been diverted” from a Safeway pharmacy in Okotoks, the RCMP said in a news release Wednesday night.

Police said they got involved when they were contacted by loss prevention officers from the supermarket. An RCMP investigation that looked into pharmacy records uncovered the theft of 33,000 tablets of narcotics. The RCMP said the narcotics, all opioids, were stolen by an employee over a five-year period.

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Leanne Rogalsky has been charged with fraud over $5,000, theft over $5,000, breach of trust, 15 counts of trafficking a controlled substance and 15 offences contrary to the Narcotics Control Regulations.

Police alleged she created fake patients and logged fraudulent prescriptions under their name before taking the tablets from the Safeway pharmacy.

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The offences are alleged to have taken place from Aug. 1, 2012 to Oct. 13, 2017.

Previous suspension, charges on record

The Alberta College of Pharmacists (ACP) said it’s investigating the charges, adding Rogalsky was removed from the clinical pharmacist register on Oct. 20, 2017 and hasn’t been eligible to practice since.

According to Alberta Justice, Rogalsky was also charged in 2005 with two counts of theft under $5,000. That case was dismissed in August 2007.

The recent suspension is not the first time Rogalsky has faced such sanctions.

“Ms. Rogalsky was previously suspended by ACP for a period of 48 months on Nov. 9, 2004,” the ACP said in an emailed statement.

“After Ms. Rogalsky satisfied the sanctions and conditions of her suspension, she was reinstated as an intern on March 26, 2009, and then onto the clinical pharmacist register on June 18, 2009.”

The ACP said Rogalsky was monitored during her period of internship and in the initial stages of being reinstated to the pharmacist register.

“No issues or concerns about her conduct arose during this period of monitoring,” the ACP said.

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In a statement from Sobeys Inc., which owns Safeway, the corporation said it knew about Rogalsky’s previous suspension when she was hired.

“We recently discovered concerns and immediately reported them to Health Canada, the Alberta College of Pharmacists and the RCMP,” spokesperson Jacquelin Corrado said.

“At that time, Leanne Rogalsky was also terminated as an employee.”

Sobeys is working with the RCMP and ACP through the investigation.

Rogalsky has been released from custody and is scheduled to appear in Okotoks Provincial Court on Dec. 22.

Global News has confirmed a photo of the woman that appears at the top of this article is the woman facing charges.

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