Vice President Cheney has dropped his personal physician from his medical team, aides said yesterday, as the New Yorker magazine reported that the doctor has a history of abusing prescription narcotics.
The doctor, internist Gary Malakoff, was relieved last month as chairman of George Washington University Medical Center's General Internal Medicine Division, the magazine reported in the issue that will be on newsstands today.
The article quoted hospital officials as saying that Malakoff is on leave from the hospital until September.
Malakoff was frequently quoted in news accounts about Cheney's heart condition.
Kevin Kellems, Cheney's press secretary, would not comment about the reports, beyond saying that Malakoff "is no longer a member of the team that treats the vice president."
"The office of the vice president does not comment on the private lives of private citizens," said Kellems, who pointed out that Malakoff had not been paid with taxpayer dollars.
The New Yorker article said Malakoff was part of Cheney's medical team for nine years. The magazine quoted colleagues and sealed legal records from Malakoff's 2002 divorce, which include medical invoices and pharmacy records, as saying that in 1999 he was placed in a program for impaired physicians, which required him to undergo urinalysis and other monitoring.
The magazine said that according to the pharmacy records and customer invoices, Malakoff bought 76 bottles of a synthetic narcotic nasal spray called Stadol from two mail-order drug supply companies over four months in 2000. The magazine said that during the 21/2-year period ending in December 2001, Malakoff spent at least $46,238 online on Stadol and other medications, such as Xanax, Tylenol with codeine and Ambien.
A George Washington University Hospital spokeswoman referred inquiries to another official, who did not immediately return a message left on his cell phone.
Malakoff was still listed as the division's director on the medical center's Web site yesterday. Malakoff's biography says he is a graduate of the George Washington University School of Medicine.