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The Federal Oncology Opportunity—Good Business for a Great Cause

Together, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Defense Health Agency (DHA) care for over 18 million veterans, active and retired military personnel, and their families. Unfortunately, veterans and active military personnel are known to be at high rates for a variety of cancers. Among veterans, more than 50,000 new cancer cases are diagnosed by the VHA each year and—at any given time—an estimated 450,000 veterans with cancer are receiving active care. Pharmaceutical manufacturers can help ensure military personnel receive the best care while also tapping into the federal market, which presents a significant business opportunity.
It is important to know that the VHA and DHA do not just provide basic cancer care. These agencies have positioned themselves as leaders in advancing all aspects of oncology. A closer look at the federal healthcare agencies will reveal:
  • A progressive integrated delivery network (IDN) that has an ambitious goal to reduce the US death rate from cancer by at least 50% over the next 25 years (Cancer Moonshot Program).
  • Support for innovative research via clinical trials that cover every stage of a veteran’s diagnosis.
  • State-of-the-art National Tumor Board platforms to ensure all providers have access to multidisciplinary consensus review by Veterans Affairs (VA) experts in oncology, pathology, surgery, radiology, radiation oncology, and other specialties.
  • A robust nationwide infrastructure that uses best-in-class diagnostics, including creation of a practice-leading National Precision Oncology Program (NPOP), providing molecular testing for any patient coordinated by a growing “Systems of Excellence” across the US.
  • Care coordination partnerships with other federal agencies, academic affiliates, community providers, and public–private research programs.
  • Access for veterans (particularly those in rural areas) to top-rated physicians and cancer care specialists nationwide through rapidly expanding National TeleOncology services.
The Federal Market Opportunity
The federal marketplace provides an avenue for growth for pharmaceutical manufacturers. The federal healthcare market truly offers a unique opportunity to collaborate with progressive mission-oriented professionals delivering high-quality, modern oncology care services to over 18 million lives within a system deeply intertwined with the nation’s top academic medical centers and community providers. In fact, through the VHA’s partnership with academic institutions, it is the largest provider of education and training for healthcare professionals in the US. More than 90% of clinicians in the US receive some of their training in the VHA system. It is notable that the rules of engagement in the federal health system are unique, but with the right strategy, highly valuable partnerships can be created.
How to Successfully Engage With Federal Markets
To optimize positioning in federal markets, manufacturers must first understand how the VHA and DHA differ from other IDNs. Turn to an experienced partner that specializes in navigating the VHA and DHA’s regimented processes with ease. A team comprising former VA and DoD national leaders and decision makers as well as federal contracting experts is best fit to provide strategic guidance and tactical support to optimize the awareness, positioning, and adoption of products. Ideally, this partner will have deep experience with federal market access including successful launch support for numerous oncology agents.
We’re here to discuss how to create genuine partnerships with federal agencies that generate long-term value and align with the care provided to veterans, active military, and their families.