American Greed: Season 2

Deadly Rx For Greed Evidence Files

Diluted Trust

It's an unthinkable crime. Kansas City pharmacist Robert Courtney, a respected member of his community and a church deacon, intentionally dilutes life-saving chemotherapy drugs for thousands of patients... putting countless lives at risk. (Source: UMKC University Archives)

The Medical Tower

Robert Courtney purchases Kansas City's Research Medical Tower Pharmacy in 1986. His specialty is mixing chemotherapy drugs. Dr. Verda Hunter's practice is in the same building and she trusts Courtney to fill her patient's medication. But Hunter becomes suspicious when her patients are not experiencing the normal side effects from the drugs. She sends a sample to a private lab for testing and the results were conclusive. (Source: Kurtis Productions)

Doctor Informs the Authorities

Dr. Hunter informs the FBI that pharmacist Robert Courtney is diluting chemotherapy prescriptions. Lead case agents David Parker of the FBI and Steven Holt of the FDA set up a sting operation. (Source: Kurtis Productions)

Sting Operation

Dr. Hunter requests prescriptions from Robert Courtney. Investigators sent samples of six prescriptions of Gemzar chemotherapy drugs to the FDA's Cincinnati laboratory for potency tests. Results reveal every prescription has been diluted by at least 50 percent. One sample contains less than one percent of the chemotherapy drug prescribed. (Source: Food and Drug Administration)

Courtney Gives Up

Investigators confiscate Courtney's documents, computer records, and medications. He is charged with one count of adulteration and misbranding of medication. Courtney turns himself in to authorities. (Source: USAO Western MO)

1 of 4,200

Bone marrow cancer patient Mary Ann Rhoads filled her medication through Robert Courtney's pharmacy. When federal authorities went public with their drug-dilution allegations, Rhoads submitted several of her unused shots for testing. Results showed each dosage of the drug had been diluted. (Source: Kurtis Productions)

2 of 4,200

Liane Dillman was a 37-year-old new mother when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Robert Courtney was both her pharmacist and her neighbor. She says the mild-mannered family man seemed kind and unassuming. He would even deliver her medication to her doorstep. (Source: Liane Dillman)

3 of 4,200

Gary Talman received his initial rounds of chemotherapy to fight colorectal cancer from Courtney's Pharmacy. Additional rounds of chemo came from a different provider, but it was too late. Gary's cancer had spread, and he died in 2003. His wife, Jacqueline, believes Robert Courtney's dilution directly led to her husband's death. (Source: Jacqueline Talman)

4 of 4,200

Delia Chelston was diagnosed with advanced-stage ovarian cancer in 2000. She and her husband Henry believe she's one of the lucky ones to survive after receiving potentially diluted treatments from Robert Courtney. (Source: Kurtis Productions)

Civil Law Suit

Georgia Hayes was the first of more than 300 cancer patients and their families to file suit against Robert Courtney, Eli Lilly and Co. and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. During her civil trial, she testified that discovering Courtney's scheme was worse than learning she had cancer in the first place. Although he pled guilty to his criminal charges, Robert Courtney pled the Fifth over and over again in a deposition concerning dilution of Georgia Hayes' prescriptions. A jury awarded Hayes more than $2 billion in total damages.

The FBI Dives In

The Courtney case was the largest federal investigation in Kansas City's history, bringing in agents from around the country. At one point, the FBI enlisted its entire Kansas City bureau to work the case, tracking down potential victims and allaying the public's fears. Special Agents Melissa Osborne, David Parker and Judith Lewis-Arnold worked the investigation for the FBI. FBI agent Melissa Osborne was a licensed pharmacist. She lent her expertise to the Courtney investigation. (Source: Kurtis Productions)

The Sentencing

Robert Courtney admits to diluting 72 different medications, potentially affecting 98,000 prescriptions for 4,200 patients since 1992. He pleads guilty to 20 counts of product tampering and adulteration or misbranding of a drug in February 2002. The judge sentences him to 30 years in federal prison — a term many victims feel is too short. All eight patients named in the criminal case have died. (Source: Testimonial Video)