Mail Order Pharmacies: DOD's Use of VA's Mail Pharmacy Could Produce Savings and Other Benefits
There has been long-standing congressional interest in whether the Department of Defense (DOD) could use the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacy (CMOP) system as a cost-effective alternative to beneficiaries picking up outpatient refill prescriptions at DOD military treatment facilities (MTF). To evaluate this possibility, DOD and VA conducted a pilot program in fiscal year 2003 in which a VA CMOP provided outpatient pharmaceutical refill services to DOD beneficiaries served through three MTFs. GAO was asked to estimate cost savings that could be achieved if DOD used VA's CMOP instead of MTF pharmacies for outpatient refill prescriptions, and what other benefits were achieved at the three pilot sites. To estimate potential cost savings and determine what other benefits were achieved, GAO reviewed pilot and pharmacy program documentation and interviewed DOD and VA officials responsible for purchasing and dispensing drugs. GAO also compared drug and administrative costs of dispensing outpatient refills through the fiscal year 2003 pilot program with the costs of dispensing the refills at the three DOD MTFs that participated in the pilot.