Vendor Tapped without Competition for Key Parts of Defense-VA Pharmacy System

Bob Brewin | Nextgov | June 5, 2012

Buried deep in an ostensibly competitive new procurement for the pharmacy information system to serve the Veterans Affairs and Defense departments’ integrated electronic health record is the fact that VA already has selected a vendor to provide key components of what will become the largest pharmacy management system in the world.

Veterans Affairs said any company that planned to bid on the iEHR Pharmacy Solution procurement must use a drug database supplied by First Databank, a San Francisco-based subsidiary of media conglomerate Hearst Corp. The department tucked this requirement into an appendix to the statement of work attached to the request for information to industry, with the company introduced nearly 100 pages into the 127-page document.

VA also required potential bidders on the pharmacy project -- the first major procurement for the iEHR -- to use a clinical decision support system provided by First Databank. Clinical decision support systems are powerful software tools that help clinicians to detect potential adverse drug interactions and determine whether a patient has an allergy to a particular class of drugs...