VA applies federal acquisition rules to biologics

Federal acquisition rules will now apply when buying biological medicines, which were originally exempt from such rules, according to the Veterans Health Administration.

On May 30, House lawmakers scrutinized the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) for putting medicines used in knee surgery, burns, cancer treatment and gene therapy in the same category as prosthetic limbs, according to a press release. This allowed the agency to purchase biologics from only a few companies without competitively bidding or negotiating prices, which, according to critics, wasted millions of dollars a year.

A week prior to the hearing, the VHA issued a memo stating that from now on purchasing agents had to apply federal and VA acquisition regulations when ordering biologic medicines. Members of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will take a close look at the new plan for the VHA’s purchasing system before the change.

“We have processes to comply with the laws… and to get the best value for the taxpayer and to make sure the veterans are being cared for,” Bill Johnson, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations chairman representative, said in a press release. “We’re going to be looking at the Veterans Health Administration’s plan, to ensure that their upgrade plan or transition plan addresses all the concerns we have.”

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