A state audit identifies “questionable” spending for meals eaten by the Iowa Pharmacy Board, its staff and guests.

More than $5400 was spent on 300 meals for “outreach” meetings the board and its staff had with Iowa pharmacists. According to auditors, $35-per-meal is “excessive” spending in state government, but the agency points to something akin to a permission slip it got from officials in the Iowa Department of Administrative Services to spend that much on meals for those events.

A spokeswoman for the agency says the Pharmacy Board considers the “outreach” meetings an important way to keep pharmacists updated and informed. In addition, the agency notes its operations are financed by licensing fees from Iowa pharmacists, not from general tax dollars.