Report: Pharmacy Near Capitol Hill May Deliver Alzheimer’s Drugs to Congress

If House Speaker Paul Ryan comes down with the flu this winter, he and his security detail won’t be screeching off toward the closest CVS for his Tamiflu.

Instead, he can just walk downstairs and pick up the pills, part of a little-known perk open to every member of Congress, from Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell down to the newest freshman Democrat.

From The Federalist Papers:

According to the owner of a pharmacy that brings drugs “by the carload” to Capitol Hill, medications for Alzheimer’s disease are prescribed to at least one member of Congress.

Stat News issued a recent report on Grubb’s Pharmacy, the little pharmacy just blocks away from Capitol Hill which supplies members of Congress with prescription drugs.

Mike Kim, the pharmacist and owner of Grubb’s Pharmacy, seemingly let something very important slip during an interview.

Stat News reports:

Nearly every day for at least two decades pharmaceutical drugs have been brought by the carload to the Capitol — an arrangement so under the radar that even pharmacy lobbyists who regularly pitch Congress on their industry aren’t aware of it.

The deliveries arrive at the secretive Office of the Attending Physician, an elaborate medical clinic where Navy doctors triage medical emergencies and provide basic health care for lawmakers who pay an annual fee of just over $600. Every one comes from Washington’s oldest community pharmacy, Grubb’s.

Mike Kim, the reserved pharmacist-turned-owner of the pharmacy, said he has gotten used to knowing the most sensitive details about some of the most famous people in Washington.

“At first it’s cool, and then you realize, I’m filling some drugs that are for some pretty serious health problems as well. And these are the people that are running the country,” Kim said, listing treatments for conditions like diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

“It makes you kind of sit back and say, ‘Wow, they’re making the highest laws of the land and they might not even remember what happened yesterday.’”

Kim listed in his initial interview that Alzheimer’s medication was among the “serious health problems” he filled prescriptions for “the people that are running the country.”

Kim later recanted his remarks after the Stat News report caused them to go viral.

Kim quickly issued a follow-up statement, saying that his remarks were “hypothetical.”

Stat News reports:

Those comments, in particular, generated a significant social media reaction, with speculation about which members might have Alzheimer’s. There were also suggestions that Kim may have violated privacy laws. (He did not identify specific patients with conditions.)

In a follow-up statement, Kim said his suggestion that members had Alzheimer’s or any other specific condition was meant as “hypothetical.”“I was speaking very broadly about disease states that the general American population have and that it also applies to everyone including members of the U.S. House and Senate since they are also people just like you and I,” he said.

He added: “My pharmacy is in a very unique location on Capitol Hill and fortunate to have the opportunity to service the U.S. Capitol.”

Listing Alzheimer’s as a general condition doesn’t sound much like what Kim initially said in his interview: “It makes you kind of sit back and say, ‘Wow, they’re making the highest laws of the land and they might not even remember what happened yesterday.’”

“I am not aware of any member that actually has Alzheimer’s,” Kim later told Stat News. “and would certainly not disclose any such information if I did know. […] Patient privacy is a very serious matter that I am committed to upholding.”

In a follow-up statement, Kim said his suggestion that members had Alzheimer’s or any other specific condition was meant as “hypothetical.”

“I was speaking very broadly about disease states that the general American population have and that it also applies to everyone including members of the U.S. House and Senate since they are also people just like you and I,” he said.

He added: “My pharmacy is in a very unique location on Capitol Hill and fortunate to have the opportunity to service the U.S. Capitol.”

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