Veterans Administration's Outpatient Pharmacy Program at Selected Medical Centers

HRD-79-29: Published: Dec 21, 1978. Publicly Released: Jan 22, 1979.

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GAO evaluated the Veterans Administration's (VA) outpatient pharmacy program in order to determine if (1) addictive and habit-forming drugs are properly controlled, (2) maintenance drugs are received by patients in a timely manner and in adequate quantity, and (3) the authenticity of physicians' prescriptions is ascertained. VA has established extensive controls over drugs and other medication despensed by its pharmacies.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of VA should direct the Chief Medical Director to (1) clarify the policy on schedule III narcotics so that each medical center pharmacy understands the need to maintain the register of receipt and dispensement of these drugs; (2) restate the policy for narcotic inspections of medical center pharmacies and wards, emphasizing the requirement of making actual counts and measures of drugs during these inspections; (3) reemphasize the importance of maintaining proper administrative records, especially on highly controlled substances; (4) direct medical center pharmacies to establish and maintain records or logs sent to patients via registered, return receipt requested mail, and to initiate followup action when these records do not show receipt by the patient; (5) direct medical center pharmacies to establish and maintain records or logs of all drugs held by the pharmacy pending destruction or return to the manufacturer; and (6) encourage VA medical center officials to initiate necessary controls in addition to those established by VA to better control substances which they believe have a high potential for theft, loss, or abuse.

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