Wednesday, January 17, 2018
News Roundup

Woman in Tampa abortion pill case sues pharmacy and its staff

TAMPA — Remee Jo Lee has filed a civil lawsuit in Hillsborough Circuit Court against a family-operated Lutz pharmacy accused of helping ex-boyfriend John Andrew Welden end her pregnancy by slipping her an abortion pill.

The suit targeting Sun Lake Pharmacy names five people and several business entities, claiming pharmaceutical negligence, negligent management or supervision, battery and intentional infliction of emotional pain.

Named are registered pharmacists Thomas J. Faust, Huy Ba Le and Ingrid Mary Bendeck, licensed pharmacy technicians Milagro D. Faust and Ami M. Faust, along with Alicea Enterprises Inc. and Physician Compounding LLC, both doing business as Sun Lake Pharmacy.

The Fausts, described as owners, did not return calls for comment. Le and Bendeck are described as "supervising practitioners."

The civil complaint does not identify which employee might be suspected of filling a forged prescription for Cytotec, creating a false patient account and providing Welden a pill bottle with Lee's name.

Monica Sanchez, spokeswoman for Lee's attorney, Gil Sanchez, said the firm doesn't yet have that information. But it's expected to come out during discovery, a phase of a lawsuit in which parties may seek evidence from each other.

The court document cites "numerous departures from good and accepted standards of pharmacy practice and care in the dispensing of the Cytotec directly to Welden," who had forged his doctor father's signature on a prescription and disguised the pills as antibiotics.

So far, Welden is the only person to face criminal charges.

He is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 5 after pleading guilty to product tampering and mail fraud. His plea agreement, which mentioned an unidentified "co-conspirator," called for him to cooperate with an additional investigation.

The U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment on the case Monday.

Patty Ryan can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3382.

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