Trump’s White House Pharmacy Handed Out Drugs Like Candy: Report

White House pharmacists reportedly distributed uppers and downers like candy to Trump administration officials during his time in office, according to a new report from the Department of Defense Inspector General.

The 80-page document, which was released on Jan. 8, found that “all phases of the White House Medical Unit’s pharmacy operations had severe and systemic problems due to the unit’s reliance on ineffective internal controls to ensure compliance with pharmacy safety standards.”

The investigation, which began in 2018 after the Office of Inspector General (DoD OIG) received complaints about improper medical practices within the White House Medical Unit, found a slew of compliance issues and improper safety standards. The medical unit’s operations fall under the jurisdiction of the White House Military Office. The report covers a period between 2009 and 2018, with a majority of its findings coalescing around 2017- 2019, during the height of the Trump administration.

While Trump lived under the White House roof, the pharmacy reportedly kept messy, handwritten records, spent lavishly on brand-name medications, and failed to comply with a slew of federal law and Department of Defense regulations governing the handling, distribution, and disposal of prescription medication.

Through in-person inspections and interviews with over 120 officials, the report concluded “that the White House Medical Unit provided a wide range of health care and pharmaceutical services to ineligible White House staff in violation of Federal law and regulation and DoD policy. Additionally, the White House Medical Unit dispensed prescription medications, including controlled substances, to ineligible White House staff.”

One witness told the DoD OIG that pharmacy staff regularly prepared go-bags of prescription medication to White House staff in advance of overseas trips. “One of our requirements was to go ahead and make packets up for the controlled medications. And those would typically be

Ambien or Provigil and typically both,” the witness said. “So we would normally make these packets of Ambien and Provigil, and a lot of times they’d be in like five tablets in a zip‑lock bag. And so traditionally, too, we would hand these out.”

Ambien is a sedative used to treat insomnia, Provigil is a stimulant used to treat narcolepsy, both are considered controlled medication

The witness added that “a lot of times the senior staff would come by or their staff representatives … would come by the residence clinic to pick it up. And it was very much a, hey, I’m here to pick this up for Ms. X. And the expectation was we just go ahead and pass it out.” Passing medication out often undersold the problem, as the report found that over-the-counter drugs were often left out in bins for staff to simply grab at their own leisure.

The report found that between 2017-2019, the White House “spent an estimated

$46,500 for brand name Ambien, which is 174 times more expensive than the generic equivalent,” and “an estimated $98,000 for brand name Provigil, which is 55 times more expensive than the generic equivalent.”

In its conclusion, the DoD OIG recommended that the Director of the Defense Health Agency aid the White House in developing more robust policies for the control and management of prescription medication. Additionally, the report suggests that the White House “establish controls for White House patient eligibility within the Military Health System,” and that the unit be placed under an oversight plan headed by senior health officials in the Department of Defense.

Hopefully, if implemented, the recommendations will prevent the White House from operating as a pill mill for the executive branch in future administrations.

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