Local pharmacist pleads guilty to theft, surrenders license

A pharmacist who agreed to surrender her license to practice pleaded guilty last week to a reduced charge of misdemeanor theft of two drug capsules from the Hock’s Tipp City Pharmacy drug stock without a prescription.

Deborah Bartone, 67, of Butler Twp., identified in court as a co-owner of the pharmacy, made the plea and was sentenced to probation in Miami County Common Pleas Court. She now is retired, according to statements made in court.

Bartone originally was indicted on a fourth degree felony theft charge for allegedly taking the two capsules in August 2020. She was accused of deception — calling a friend who is an advanced practice nurse and asking for a prescription, after she was advised by pharmacy management that the state Board of Pharmacy was monitoring the drug stock.

Reports at the county prosecutor’s office stated Bartone told investigators she took the prescription medication for a headache not addressed by over the counter medication. The nurse had cared for her in the past but not recently, according to the report.

The charge was amended to misdemeanor theft of drugs, and a provision that a dangerous drug had been involved was removed.

Defense lawyer James Fleisher said Bartone had held a pharmacist license “for several decades without any blemishes.” She is retired and owns Hock’s Pharmacy with her son, but is “poised to extract herself from that role” in November, he said.

“It is very embarrassing. I knew I should not have done it,” Bartone said. “I knew it was wrong. I am sorry for my actions.”

Pratt said she found Bartone was remorseful and that no one was injured because of her actions.

She sentenced Bartone to up to five years of probation. As conditions of probation, she was ordered to not work as a pharmacist or in any pharmacy-related capacity; pay a $500 fine and court costs; and perform 150 hours of community service.

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