VA And Defense Drop Vendor-Specific Database Requirement For Joint Pharmacy System

Bob Brewin | Nextgov | August 20, 2012

The Defense and Veterans Affairs departments have dropped a mandate that any vendor planning to bid on the pharmacy system for the integrated electronic health record use a drug database supplied by First Databank, a San Francisco-based subsidiary of media conglomerate Hearst Corp. Nextgov first reported the requirement on June 5.

VA quietly removed the requirement to use First Databank in an attachment to a new version of the iEHR pharmacy performance work statement posted to the Federal Business Opportunities website on Aug. 10. This attachment, buried on page 93 of a 126-page document, removed all language in previous versions related to First Databank and instead said the joint pharmacy system “shall support a commercially available drug database as the enterprisewide drug database.”

The new version of the performance work statement added, “The iEHR pharmacy product shall provide automatic updates of a commercially available drug database, including automatic updates of customization tables.” A number of other companies provide drug database software -- which identifies prescriptions by national drug codes assigned by manufacturers -- including Cerner Corp., the Micromedex division of Thomson Reuters; Medi-Span from Wolters Kluwer Health; and Elsevier/Gold Standard.