Unplugged fridge at UConn Health Center cost taxpayers thousands - WFSB 3 Connecticut

I-Team Investigation

Unplugged fridge at UConn Health Center cost taxpayers thousands

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Unplugged fridge at UConn Health Center cost taxpayers thousands (WFSB) Unplugged fridge at UConn Health Center cost taxpayers thousands (WFSB)
FARMINGTON, CT (WFSB) -

A mistake that cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars is all being blamed on an unplugged refrigerator at the UConn Health Center.

Leaving a fridge unplugged is a mistake that can happen to anyone. At home, it could mean a few hundred dollars’ worth of food could spoil.

But when the same thing happened at the UConn Health Center, medicine worth more than $300,000 was lost.

It happened summer 2014 at the Department of Dermatology where a Pyxis medication storage refrigerator was unplugged, and by the time anyone realized it, all of the medicine inside had to be thrown away.

They lost doses of Botox, but what really hurt were the doses of Stelara, the most expensive medication kept there.

One dose costs $13,000, and the department typically administers 10 to 15 doses every few days.

The Eyewitness News I-Team obtained a police report that noted all employees and cleaning staff were interviewed but nobody knew why the fridge was unplugged.

The total cost of the lost medication was $307,000.

A UConn spokesperson said after the incident, a lock was added to that particular power outlet so the plug can no longer be removed.

The department also added online monitoring to 57 onsite and the 12 offsite Pyxis units, so alerts go out if power is lost.

The remaining 60-plus units will have the monitoring once construction is complete on the health center’s new facility next year.

The drugs were replaced, and UConn was able to use its wholesale buying power to negotiate the price down.

Still, $216,164 of taxpayer money had to be used because of the mistake.

The I-Team asked UConn more than once to let someone speak on camera to find out even more about the steps they're taking to make sure hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars aren't lost again, but a spokeswoman refused to grant an interview.

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