A senior official at the Department of Veterans Affairs says the agency is improperly spending at least $5 billion a year for medical care and supplies that are being purchased outside of required practices for competitive bidding and written contracts.

Jan Frye, deputy assistant secretary for acquisition and logistics, says "gross mismanagement" by senior agency leaders has wasted billions of dollars and made a "mockery" of federal laws regarding purchasing of goods and services.

Frye tells a House subcommittee Thursday billions of dollars in illegal purchases have been made for pharmaceutical drugs and medical supplies, putting veterans at risk and exposing the agency to widespread "fraud, waste and abuse."

Republican Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado, chairman of a House Veterans Affairs oversight panel, is calling the allegations "truly staggering."