TRICARE TO INCLUDE OTC DRUGS

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As of May 2007, the Department of Defense (DOD) will begin substitution of certain OTC drugs that have been assessed as both cost-effective and therapeutically equivalent to prescription drugs on the TRICARE formulary.

The program can be put into operation across the entire DOD pharmacy benefits program or at a limited number of locations, according to the discretion of the new secretary of defense. If the extent of the project is limited, however, it must be implemented in at least 5 outlets in each of the 3 TRICARE regions across the country. The legislation calls for a report evaluating the saved costs and benefits seen in providing OTC drugs under the pharmacy benefits program, including a gauge of customer satisfaction, to be included within the next 2 years.

TRICARE is the DOD's managed health care program for active-duty military personnel, active-duty service families, and military retirees and their families. The program covers 9 million individuals worldwide.