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Capitol Health Call
October 13, 2010

VA Drug Formulary

JAMA. 2010;304(14):1546. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1418

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) does not have the mechanisms in place to ensure that requests for nonformulary drugs are adjudicated in a timely manner, said the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in a report released August 30.

In its report, the GAO said the VA spent about $4 billion on 249 million prescriptions dispensed to veterans in 2009, with 94% involving drugs on the VA's national formulary. For patients needing nonformulary drugs, the VA is supposed to adjudicate requests within 96 hours, but the GAO found that not all requests are adjudicated within this time frame. In addition, the GAO said the VA does not have the framework in place to ensure that appeals of denied nonformulary drug requests are resolved in a timely fashion (http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d10776.pdf ).