Crime

Grand jury declines to indict 2 former Fayette Health Department officials

A grand jury has dismissed drug-related charges against the former chief operating and pharmacy officers of the Fayette County Health Department's Primary Care Center.

Prosecutors presented evidence Monday about Kyle Black, who resigned in June as the center's chief operating officer. Prosecutors asked the grand jury to consider two felony counts of attempting to obtain or obtaining a controlled substance by fraud or false statement to a practitioner.

The drug involved in the alleged cases on Dec. 16, 2008, and Aug. 6, 2009, was Androgel, a testosterone replacement drug.

Prosecutors also presented evidence about Surinder Sabharwal, who had been the primary care center's chief pharmacist. Prosecutors asked the grand jury to consider two counts of trafficking in a prescription drug and one count of attempting to obtain or obtaining a controlled substance by fraud or false statement to a practitioner.

The first case allegedly occurred Dec. 18, 2010, and involved Androgel. The trafficking charges stemmed from alleged cases on Dec. 10, 2009, and Oct. 12, 2010, and involved Wellbutrin, an anti-depressant, and Coreg, a beta blocker used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.

Sabharwal was placed on unpaid leave from his health department job earlier this year and has since retired.

The men were arrested in August on similar charges and pleaded not guilty in Fayette District Court.

Before Black resigned and Sabharwal was placed on unpaid leave, they had been reassigned to other duties at the health department because of an investigation by the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services' Office of the Inspector General and the Kentucky Board of Pharmacy.

The health department has undergone major management changes amid staff complaints about a hostile work environment and other issues this year.

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