* Seventy-nine Veterans Administration employes are being disciplined, including two who face dismissal, for accepting gratuities from a drug company that does business with VA hospitals, officials told Congress yesterday.
The 79 cases all involve gifts or payments from Smith Kline French Laboratories, and the VA inspector general's office is expanding its investigation to look into dealings between employes and four other drug companies.
The VA does not plan to limit purchases of Smith Kline drugs or take other action against the company, officials said.
Dr. John A. Gronvall, deputy chief VA medical director, told a House Veterans Affairs subcommittee that the employes accepted items such as speaking fees, expenses, meals and tickets to events. In some cases, the employes in question served on hospital committees that select drugs for purchase.
In early 1984 the inspector general's office began investigating the acceptance of gratuities in violation of VA ethics and conflict-of-interest regulations.
"The appeals we are receiving indicate that many of the employes involved in the investigation were genuinely unaware that their conduct violated VA regulations," Gronvall said. "Such lack of awareness will be corrected."
But he also said relationships between doctors and other medical employes and drug companies, which often finance conferences where medical information is shared, should not be eliminated. "We must be careful not to overreact,'' Gronvall said.