The District of Columbia's chief health official yesterday ordered the immediate removal and disposal of any outdated drugs found on shelves of the two city pharmacies that serve the District's 22 public clinics.
According to Albert Russo, director of the city's Department of Human Resources, Dr. Raymond Standard took the action in response to a report in Sunday's editions of The Washington Post that an internal city government investigation had found drugs four and five years old in the pharmacies.
Russo said that, in response to the same published report, he had ordered an immediate inspection of the clinics to see whether there was any infestation of cockroaches or mice.
According to the report cited in Sunday's story, more than 75 percent of the clinics had vermin infestation, were dirty and had fire safety problems.
Russo said he ordered DHR's maintenance division to see whether private exterminators, with contracts to keep vermin out of the clinics, were living up to their commitments. Any clinic that does not have a contract, Russo said, will get one immediately.
"Dr. Standard this morning personally visited the two pharmacies and instructed the staff to immediately inventory all drugs and medications," Russo said.
Standard is head of the Health and Hospitals Administration, the division of DHR that runs the city's public health clinics and programs.
"Based on what Dr. Standard saw when he was at the Upshur street clinic (at 13th and Upshur streets NW), there was nothing on the shelves at that clinic dated before January 1979," Russo said.
A reporter and photographer who visited the pharmacy in that clinic Friday found, in the course of about a three-minute tour of the pharmacy, a bottle containing Loxitane tranquilizer capsules that had an expiration date of October 1978.
In a back storage room, a reporter saw an entire case of drugs whose expiration date was August 1976. The pharmacist at the clinic, who refused to be interviewed or photographed, said the case of drugs was about to be returned to the central DHR warehouse.
According to the city government report on the clinics, which was not intended for public consumption, clinic staff members have vaccinated children against diseases like diphtheria and polio with out-of-date vaccines.
Drug manufacturers do not guarantee the potency of their products after the expiration date on the bottle, which means a child vaccinated with an out-of-date drug could remain totally unprotected.
Inspectors also found that only two of the clinics-which serve at least 60,000 of the city's poor in an average year-have toilets that can be used by person in wheelchairs. CAPTION: Picture, ALBERT RUSSO . . . orders clinic inspections