The White House's unregulated pharmacy was one of Washington's best-kept secrets, but a new watchdog report has blown the establishment and its alleged Dr. Feelgoods wide open.
In a damning new report, the Defense Department's inspector general revealed that during the years Donald Trump was president, the White House Medical Unit was not only incorrectly stocking and handing out amphetamines and opioids, but also doing so at the expense of the taxpayer.
To the shock of no one, this problem was particularly bad between 2017 and 2019 — right smack dab in the middle of the wild west of the Trump years.
Run by the White House's military office, this pharmacy that was not supposed to be called a pharmacy had no licensed pharmacists or assistants on staff. In fact, it had no credentials at all from the type of outside agencies that generally regulate these sorts of facilities.
It was instead run by military medical officials who, when they kept records at all, would make handwritten, error-filled, and often illegible notes about disbursing controlled substances, and who at times wouldn't even properly verify patients' identities before giving them their drugs.
What's worse, it would apparently let White House staffers take over-the-counter medications out of giant bins and improperly dispose of medications, which could have led to even more impropriety that the IG was unable to ascertain. Senior staff would often have their aides pick up their medications for them with no oversight, either.
The most incriminating of the claims in the military watchdog's report, however, came from witnesses who heard tell of clinic staffers and White House officials procuring narcolepsy drugs and sleeping medication for people as gifts or for travel.
"Dr. [redacted] asked if I could hook up this person with some Provigil as a parting gift for leaving the White House," one witness told the IG's investigators, referencing the powerful narcolepsy medication rumored to be a standby of Trump's predecessor Barack Obama as well. "And at the time... it was okay for us to dispense Provigil and Ambien without having a provider present."
"I’m not sure if it was okay as far as, like, what’s medically allowed," that witness continued. "But in the unit, it was authorized for us to do that kind of stuff."
In another testimony, an unnamed person said that it was not only standard practice but actually required that clinic staffers "go ahead and make packets up for the controlled medications," with Ambien and Provigil once again being named.
"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," the person told the IG's office. "And so traditionally, too, we would hand these out."
To add insult to injury, this seemingly glorified pill mill also went against Navy guidelines by purchasing name-brand medications instead of their far cheaper generic versions, and between the years 2017 and 2019, it spent nearly $150,000 on the aforementioned narcolepsy and sleep medications alone.
This investigation, per the report, was opened after someone called the IG's hotline in 2018 alleging that the clinic was "engaged in improper medical practices." The office got more tips after that, and although its probe looked into both the Obama and Trump years up until 2020, the majority of the report is focused on 2017-2019, when the worst of the claims seem to have taken place.
While these claims are obviously far from the worst to be alleged about the Trump administration, and indeed may have been done without the president's knowledge at all, it's still a shocking portrait of the lawlessness of his White House — especially considering that he's once again shaping up to be the GOP's nominee.
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