CAMP CARROLL, South Korea -- The U.S. Army Medical Materiel Center-Korea has embraced cost-effective measures to change the way it procures medications and educates patients, reducing costs by more than $3 million over the past year.
Working in collaboration with Defense Logistics Agency-Troop Support, USAMMC-K launched an initiative to increase the use of generic medications, from 70% to more than 90%, while ensuring compliance with national contract purchasing requirements.
The initiative requires the pharmacy consultant and purchasing agents to improve compliance analysis before purchasing medications from vendors -- a shift from past practice of monitoring metrics passively. Now, available generics are taken into consideration before opting for brand-name products, which also helps the Army meet the Defense Health Agency’s goal of 90% compliance on national vendor contracts.
“This initiative ensures we are both good stewards of tax payer dollars and compliant with the DHA standards on the Korean Peninsula,” said Capt. Benjamin Lee, theater pharmacy consultant for the Korean Peninsula, assigned to USAMMC-K.
This initiative requires continuous customer education. Lee said customers typically re-ordered what they had received in the past, so the team worked to educate customers that “generics work just as well as brand-name drugs and cost less.”
USAMMC-K, a direct reporting unit of Army Medical Logistics Command, serves as the theater lead agent for medical materiel in support of U.S. Forces Korea (USFK). Across the peninsula, USAMMC-K provides continuous medical logistics support to sustain the operational readiness of USFK throughout the full range of military operations.
Lee also acknowledged that the initiative was a team effort that started with his predecessors, Capt. Hung Duong and Capt. Lance Murphy, who laid the foundation for the “brand-to-generic” initiative at USAMMC-K.
Lee credited Maj. William Kirby as a “tremendous help” in the effort to improve compliance and reporting.
Kirby, a pharmacist for DLA-Troop Support’s customer pharmacy operations center, said the agency leverages strong partnerships with the pharmaceutical industry, engaging other government agencies to participate in joint national contracts that provide good prices on quality pharmaceuticals.
“The efforts and successes of Capt. Lee within the USAMMC-K team demonstrate the value of the partnership between DLA and DOD,” Kirby said. “Through their stewardship, [they have] created cost savings while ensuring supply of critical medications, maximizing warfighter readiness in the Korea area of responsibility.”