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Cancer Patients Still Suffering in Diluted-Drug Case

New details are emerging about the Kansas City druggist accused of watering down cancer drugs. As Cynthia Bowers reports, patients who may have taken those drugs are still suffering because of what they do not know.

Over the last year, Delia Chelston spent more than $80,000 on drugs to fight her ovarian cancer, but she doesn't know if she was actually treated or not.

"I was willing to accept I'd had a good life--but to think that this may have pushed me faster, I don't know what to think," says Chelston.

Her chemotherapy medication was mixed in Robert Courtney's Kansas City pharmacy and may have been among the at least 150 separate treatments, the federal government now says, he admits to diluting.

"When I heard the story I went into the doctor and said: Tell me this is a dream, But she said: No, its true," says Chelston.

In a newly released court document, the judge, who Monday denied bail for Courtney, suggests the motive for selling watered down drugs was a looming $600,000 tax bill, and the judge says "if he [Courtney] is willing to commit, and then admit to, such conduct I cannot imagine what else he may be capable of."

The judge also expressed frustration, saying the 3-year penalty currently facing Courtney if he's convicted is not representative of the violent act he has admitted committing--that the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, under which he is charged, was not set up to punish withholding life-saving drugs for terminally ill patients.

Today the government asked a federal court to shut down Courtney's pharmacy and freeze at least $6 million of his $10 million in assets. Meanwhile, the calls continue to pour into an FBI hotline set up to find everyone who may have been given diluted doses, more than 1,500 calls so far.

FBI special agent Jeff Lanza says, "We're not limiting ourselves to any time frame here. We don't know how long these allegations--if they're true--have been going on, whether its been 3 months, 3 years, or even longer than that."
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