As the Defense Department looks to lower its compensation expenditures to meet required spending reductions, it may want to reexamine its pharmaceutical policies.
A recent Government Accountability Office report found the Pentagon pays more for prescription drugs per unit than other major federally sponsored health care packages. In 2011, Defense spent $7.5 billion on prescription drugs for about 10 million beneficiaries.
Overall, Defense spent an average of $0.99 per unit, while Medicare Part D paid $0.82 per unit and Medicaid paid just $0.62. Defense is limited in its ability to negotiate, GAO found, because it must cover all drugs within a therapeutic class and only covers prescriptions filled at retail stores.
Active-duty military personnel do not pay anything toward their covered prescription drugs, though Obama has called for active-duty families to face a co-payment. To date, Republicans in Congress have rejected any changes to TRICARE and military health care.