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Inside Politics

Doctor removed from vice president's medical team

Report: Physician abused prescription narcotics

From Ed Henry
CNN Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A doctor who is the subject of a magazine article alleging prescription drug abuse has been removed from Dick Cheney's medical team, a spokesman for the vice president said.

The physician, Gary Malakoff, no longer treats the vice president, Cheney spokesman Kevin Kellems said late Sunday. The vice president's office did not say when Malakoff was removed nor did it comment on the magazine article about the alleged abuse.

The New Yorker magazine reports that Malakoff abused prescription narcotics for years.

"Dr. Malakoff is no longer a member of the team that treats the vice president," Kellems told CNN in a phone interview.

"Dr. Malakoff is a private citizen. He is not a government employee nor is he paid with taxpayer dollars. The office of the vice president does not comment on the private lives of private citizens."

The article in Monday's issue of The New Yorker reports that Malakoff was removed in June from his position as chairman of George Washington University Medical Center's General Internal Medicine Division.

According to pharmacy records and customer invoices reviewed by the magazine, Malakoff bought 76 bottles of the synthetic narcotic nasal spray Stadol during a four-month period in 2000. During a 2 1/2-year period ending in December 2001, the doctor spent at least $46,238 on Internet purchases of Stadol, Xanax, Tylenol with codeine and Ambien.

Malakoff had been treating the 63-year-old Cheney, who has suffered four heart attacks since 1978. The doctor has frequently been quoted in the media attesting to the vice president's good health.

Kellems stressed that the vice president relies on the medical opinions of more than one doctor, and his health will not prevent him from seeking re-election or serving out another term in office.

"The vice president's health is monitored closely by a team of physicians from George Washington University Medical Center and the White House," said Kellems.

"The results of the vice president's most recent routine, comprehensive checkup were very good. He was advised by his physicians that there is no health issue that would interfere with his running for re-election or holding office for a second term."

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