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Safeguards Over Controlled Substances at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center Pharmacy for the Period May 2006 to June 2007

From May 2006 to June 2007, the NIH Clinical Center Pharmacy (the Pharmacy), located in Bethesda, Maryland, did not always appropriately secure its Schedule II controlled substances (Schedule II substances) or adequately segregate duties for ordering and receiving the substances. Schedule II substances have the highest potential for abuse among controlled substances with an accepted medical use. The Pharmacy procures and dispenses Schedule II and other substances to inpatients and outpatients participating in intramural research protocols at the Clinical Center.

As a result of the deficiencies that we found, Schedule II substances were vulnerable to loss, diversion, and mismanagement. We discussed our findings with a Pharmacy official, who concurred and immediately implemented corrective actions.

We recommended that NIH ensure that the Pharmacy continues to enforce its policies and procedures to secure and control Schedule II substances. NIH concurred with our recommendation.

Filed under: Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services