Pharmacist stands trial for giving adulterated medication to 1,000 cancer patients

Essen, Germany
emFile Photo/em
File Photo

A 47-year-old pharmacist went on trial in Germany on Monday for allegedly handing out adulterated medication to around 1,000 cancer patients between 2012 and 2016.

Prosecutors say the man, who worked in a pharmacy in the western German town of Bottrop, gave out smaller-than-prescribed doses of cancer medication in 62,000 cases, costing public health insurance companies 56 million euros (65 million dollars).

If found guilty, Peter S - whose full name was withheld to comply with German privacy rules - could face up to 10 years in prison and a professional ban. He has been in custody for the past year and has yet to respond to the charges against him.

Some of the lawyers representing patients want a harsher sentence for the man. Hans Reinhardt, who is representing a cancer patient from Gladbeck, said that the defendant had "embraced the possibility of a large number of patients dying earlier than expected."

Many of the cancer patients affected attended the opening session.

"I have no trust left," said Annelie Scholz, a 66-year-old from Bottrop whose daughter was one of the patients given the wrong dose of medicine and later died of cancer.

"He is ice cold - as if none of it really concerned him," she said, describing the moment Peter S walked into the courtroom.

Though prosecutors claim Peter S committed the alleged crimes in order to "create a significant revenue stream for himself," it remains unclear what the suspect's exact motivations were and how he planned to benefit from the alleged misconduct.

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