(PatriotWise.com) — A new report from the Pentagon’s Office of the Inspector General found that the White House Medical Unit under the Trump administration was riddled with “severe and systemic problems” with dispensing and storing medications and providing healthcare to ineligible staffers, NBC News reported.
The White House Medical Unit is staffed by both military and civilian employees and is overseen by the Pentagon. The unit also consists of multiple clinics in the DC area.
The Inspector General’s report comes after a multi-year investigation prompted in 2018 by allegations that a senior White House military medical officer was “engaged in improper medical practices.”
The investigation focused on three years during the Trump administration and included interviews with employees and on-site visits.
According to the January 8 report, the White House Medical Unit was improperly providing a wide range of healthcare, including pharmaceutical services, to ineligible staff in violation of federal policy and law.
Additionally, the unit did not keep Schedule II drugs separate as required by federal regulations, storing opioids like hydrocodone, morphine, fentanyl, and oxycodone in the same place as other medications.
Senior staffers with the medical unit were directing practices that were not in line with Pentagon policy, with medical unit providers saying they were not given the authority to deny requests from senior medical unit staffers, according to the report.
The report also found that controlled substances, including sleep aids and opioids, were not “properly accounted for.” The Medical Unit tracked the inventory of controlled substances using handwritten notes, leading to frequent errors, according to the report.
The medical unit dispensed the sleeping medication Ambien without verifying a patient’s identity. What’s more, the unit purchased Ambien rather than its generic equivalent. The brand name Ambien is 174 times the cost of the generic.
Similarly, the unit opted for the brand-name version of the sleep aid Provigil rather than its far less expensive generic counterpart.
According to the report, the Medical Unit did not properly dispose of pharmaceuticals, including controlled substances, in large part because medical unit officials did not consider themselves a pharmacy.
In the report, the Inspector General recommended that the White House Medical Unit work with the director of the Defense Health Agency to develop procedures to manage pharmaceuticals.
While the report did not name the senior Medical Unit officer whose actions prompted the 2018 complaint, Dr. Ronny Jackson, who headed up the Medical Unit at the time and was nominated by Trump to be the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, was forced to withdraw from consideration after Montana Senator Jon Tester accused him of improperly dispensing Ambien and Provigil.
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