Report Exposes White House Pharmacy Under Trump

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( – A report released by the Department of Defense’s Inspector General’s office has found numerous instances of poor practice by the White House Medical Unit while operating under President Trump’s term in office. The 80-page document, released on January 8th, claims that the White House’s pharmacy suffered “systemic problems”, which included wasting funds on brand-name drugs, handing out medication to ineligible staff members, and being run with a lack of managerial oversight.

The investigation began in 2018 after the Department of Defense received tip-offs that a senior member of military medical personnel had engaged in improper conduct while working for the Medical Unit. The investigators examined records and questioned witnesses relating to the period between 2008 and 2019 and uncovered numerous breaches of protocol. While the time frame includes several years of President Obama’s administration, the report mostly focused on President Trump’s administration, with much of the detail taken from 2017-2019.

According to the report, the pharmacy went against regulations that require only generic drugs be bought, for example by spending $46,500 between 2017 and 2019 on Ambien, a brand-name insomnia drug. The equivalent generic drug would have cost the White House just $270. The report also noted that 4,180 doses of Provigil, a branded stimulant drug, were purchased for $98,000 during the same time frame as opposed to the generic version, which would have cost $1,800 for the same dosage.

Drugs such as Ambien and Provigil were handed over to staffers without any patient verification procedures, with one witness claiming that it was standard practice for staffers to request medication apparently for other, more senior members of staff. Witness testimony also described an occasion on which Provigil was given as a parting gift for a White House official, with a White House doctor approving the request.

While the White House Medical Unit is intended to provide treatment for just 60 or so enrolled senior Presidential appointees, the report found that around 6,000 employees and contractors at the White House made use of the unit by one method or another, with ineligible individuals being given free medical care against regulations.

The report recommended that the Medical Unit be placed under an oversight plan headed by Department of Defense officials, with controls for patient eligibility to be established. In response, Lester Martinez-Lopez, the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, sent a response agreeing with all the report’s conclusions.

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