When it comes time to place your support behind a public representative who will have power in the legislative chambers of Congress, it is safe to say that most people would like to place their support behind an individual who is clear-headed, cognitively healthy, and can withstand the physical necessities needed to fulfill the travel and long work day commitments of a congressman. A healthy democracy surely needs a healthy body of representatives, right?
It turns out that those who represent the public on Capitol Hill are not the most healthy individuals as on any given day hundreds of big pharma drugs are delivered to members of the legislative body, with some drugs being delivered to treat serious illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease.
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.’”
According to Grubb’s Pharmacy’s Mike Kim, during the busiest time of the year for Congress, his business will deliver carloads of hundreds of prescription drugs to Office of the Attending Physician, providing a service that allows the representatives to bypass normal drug fulfillment procedures.
“The Capitol kind of takes somewhat of a precedence just because of who we’re servicing,” Kim told STAT News.
“The member might be calling to say, ‘Hey, I’m about to leave in five minutes, where’s my drug? So [the clinicians at the Capitol] get into panic mode as well. I wouldn’t say they’ve ever gotten frustrated with us, but it’s more of a concern like, ‘Oh my gosh, the member just called us, we need to know where the drug is.’”
The Office of the Attending Physician was formed in 1928, after three members of Congress died in their offices within months of one another, long before Grubb’s Pharmacy serviced the office with pharmaceuticals. While it isn’t totally clear how many drugs the OAP keeps on hand, a former Navy physician who spent several years working for OAP says the office is well stocked with drugs.
“We provided some pretty comprehensive service, to keep the members doing their jobs so they didn’t have to go look for a doctor,” former OAP employee Dr. Lee Mandel told STAT.
“As far as all medications, I don’t know — maybe the more exotic ones we didn’t — but probably we did stock [most drugs] on their behalf.”
The idea that some members of Congress are taking medication to treat a very serious illness such as Alzheimer’s disease should ring alarm bells across the country as the illness itself and the pharmaceuticals that treat it can have very damaging effects on a person.
On top of the cognitive degenerative symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, a suffer who is taking – for example – the FDA approved Alzheimer treatment medication Aricept, side effects ranging from chronic trouble sleeping to aggressive behavior may also occur. Other side effects of Aricept are altered mental status, brain disease or injury causing inability to communicate, becoming easily angered or annoyed, and mood changes.
Very dangerous side effects come with taking most big pharma drugs, and those side effects are leading to hundreds of thousands of death worldwide annually. Because of this, the American people should be highly concerned with the mental and physical state of their public representatives in Washington as it has now come to light that big pharma drugs are readily available to them.
While it isn’t clear to the public what representative is taking what drug/s, policymakers making an appearance in Grubb’s pharmacy is no longer a star striking moment for the pharmacists because of the frequency.
After 20 years at Grubb’s, Kim himself isn’t nearly so starstruck by the lawmakers. Even when they stop by the shop in-person, he said they’re just like any other customer.
“I still remember John Kerry - it was literally like the day after he lost [the 2004 presidential election], he came in and he was just standing in line with everybody else,” Kim recalled.
“I just remember seeing him standing in line and almost feeling sorry for him — one day he’s a superstar, he’s got his entourage and security detail, and the next day he’s just by himself, he’s picking up his prescription.”
Recently, the health of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi came under the media’s radar when she was filmed slurring her statements and uttering unintelligible gibberish during a press conference.
Considering the frequent mass delivery of big pharma drugs to Congress, it isn’t a farfetched idea to assume that this type of behavior may be the result of a drug’s side effect.
Pharmaceutical side effects and politics was also in the media spotlight during the recent presidential election when reports of Hillary Clinton’s publicly available medical records exposed how the former presidential candidate and former Secretary of State has been taking the dangerous blood thinner Lovenox since 1998.
The presence of pharmaceutical drugs in the chambers of Capitol Hill is a topic which needs further investigation. If members of Congress are suffering from the dangerous side effects that come with the big pharma provided drugs, it is possible that the public could consider those suffering from the drugs unfit to serve the publics bests interests.