Dr. William Winkenwerder Jr., assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, announced today that on Jan. 12 the Department of Defense (DoD) received notice that the General Accounting Office (GAO) upheld the award of the Tricare Retail Pharmacy Contract (TRRx) to Express Scripts Inc. (ESI) of Maryland Heights, Mo. The Tricare Retail Pharmacy contract is for a pharmacy benefits manager to provide a nationwide network of retail pharmacies to fill prescriptions for Tricare beneficiaries in the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The GAO review was prompted by protests filed by four of the losing bidders: ACS State Healthcare LLC, PharmaCare Government Services Inc., PBGA LLC, and Humana Military Healthcare Services Inc.
“We are pleased with the GAO’s decision and look forward to continuing our work with Express Scripts on the transition of this important healthcare benefit to a new and innovative contract. This decision is a clear recognition of the integrity and diligence applied by the government team that had the daunting task of reviewing a large number of highly competitive proposals,” said Winkenwerder.
The new contract is designed to improve service and satisfaction for Tricare beneficiaries and substantially reduce the cost of the benefit to the American taxpayer. DoD will implement the new contract in 2004 as a key part of the transformation of the military health system. The DoD and the outgoing and incoming contractors will take every measure to assure uniformed services beneficiaries of a seamless transition of the retail pharmacy and all other healthcare benefits.
The TRRx contract was awarded to ESI on Sept. 26, 2003. The total value of the contract, which does not include the cost of prescriptions paid with government funds, is estimated at $245,439,268 for the period of performance, including the 6-month base period and five 1-year option periods. The transition to the new retail pharmacy contract began on Oct.1, 2003, with the turnover of responsibility for delivery of retail pharmacy services occurring nationwide on April 1, 2004. The contract was competitively procured with seven offers received, and the Tricare Management Activity, Aurora, Colo., is the contracting activity. ESI was previously awarded a contract in September 2002, to provide a worldwide full-service mail order pharmacy program to the 8.9 million Military Health System beneficiaries.