A new Defense Department inspector general report reveals that a little-known in-house pharmacy at the White House erroneously dolled out prescription medications to staff and wasted $750,000 in taxpayer money.
One former pharmacy staff member told investigators that a doctor once asked if the staffer could 'hook up' someone with a controlled substance 'as a parting gift for leaving the White House.'
The report, according to an article in Stat News, revealed that the pharmacy office dispensed controlled medications like Ambien and Provigil without verifying the patient’s identity.
Stat reported that in an office in the White House there was a sign that read 'Pharmacy,' but the people in charge of it insisted it wasn’t actually one.
The investigation, which was published this month, was conducted by the Department of Defense’s independent Office of the Inspector General as the White House pharmacy is run by the White House Military Office and its associated medical unit.
The probe was prompted by internal complaints the DOD received in 2018 about a senior military medical officer, who is not named, engaging in 'improper medical practices.' It covers only activity in the office through early 2020 under the Trump administration, but investigators interviewed staffers who also worked there under former President Obama, according to Stat.
According to the report, the 'pharmacy' let people grab over-the-counter medicines from open bins.
It also found that a larger affiliate of the office inappropriately covered care for a whole host of personnel who weren’t eligible, costing more than $750,000 in wasted taxpayer funds in just three years. Stat notes that even that number is 'fuzzy' because so many records were poorly kept and even handwritten.
'If this had been a traditional pharmacy, they certainly would have been cited by their state board of pharmacy,' Douglas Hoey, CEO of the National Community Pharmacists Association, told the outlet. 'And there’s probably even an outside chance that they’d be shut down by their state board of pharmacy, if this was a pharmacy operating outside of the cocoon of the White House.'.