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ASHINGTON — The pharmacist who prepares prescription drugs for Congress would like you to know that he does not know of any members with Alzheimer’s. And if he did, he wouldn’t tell you.

“I am not aware of any member that actually has Alzheimer’s and would certainly not disclose any such information if I did know,” Mike Kim said, adding that “patient privacy is a very serious matter that I am committed to upholding.”

Kim was featured in a story, published by STAT on Wednesday morning, about his pharmacy’s relationship with Congress. In interviews, the 47-year-old owner of Grubb’s Pharmacy, located just a few blocks from the Capitol, spoke candidly and on the record.

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“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 volunteered, 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.’”

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.”

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  • This is public relations intervening. He knew what he said and he meant it. But someone pressured him, so he had to say that he doesn’t know of anyone who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Because he doesn’t. Only the doctor and the patient know that. However, he does know who is taking medication for Alzheimer’s because he fills their prescriptions. The statement at the end about speaking broadly is complete rubbish. They are trying to whitewash his statement.

  • This pharmacist talks like a teenager (kind of, literally like) and yet manages controlled substances? He might not even remember what happened yesterday and yet he is working with the people who make the highest laws of the land.

  • Why worry about dementia when there’s a sitting senator who has been voting on important legislation this year while having brain cancer? Had it operated on, with a bad outlook on recovery, and hurried back against doctors advice to take another important vote.

  • The Nation is terribly served if a member of Congress has dementia and hiding behind HIPAA regulations only aggravates the situation. Rule deontology is not an end onto itself.

    The Constitution needs to be revised so that elected and appointed representatives of the State can be removed from office for medical cause.

  • I am a pharmacist and owner of a independent RX, all I could think is the HIPPA violations. Think before you ever grant an interview to the press. I also think John Kerry would agree.

    • So even if we are all going to now pretend like the Alzheimer’s comments were totally unrelated to the people he was discussing in the interview….he absolutely identified John Kerry as a patient who picks up prescriptions at his pharmacy. He can’t really deny *that* HIPAA violation…

  • It may be legal to talk of treating a subgroup of patients without naming names, but I think it is not ethical or professional. I think it is not the public’s business. I am a customer of Grubb’s Pharmacy, and would not like Pharmacist Kim talking about his customers on my block.

    • Donepezil is used off label in treating other neurological disorders such as sub types of migraines. I also have patients with very early suspected Alzheimer’s that take medication “just in case”. Who hasn’t walked into a room and forgotten what they were looking for? For patients over 50 some aggressively treat those forgetful moments because it’s difficult to diagnose early Alzheimer’s. It’s very irresponsible of that pharmacist to speak the way he did. He gives our whole profession a black eye. If the man had any compassion for his patients, he would never have put them in such a position. Every patient of his now has reason to doubt his professionalism.

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