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Medical Devices and the Department of Veterans Affairs

Medical devices are a vital component of healthcare in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offering veterans improved diagnosis and treatment options. The VA is open to new and innovative technologies that best-fit patient needs and improve patient outcomes. There are several factors a medical device manufacturer should consider when interested in selling into this market.

TAA Compliance is Important

The VA focuses on purchasing Trade Act Agreement (TAA) compliant products. Exceptions, while possible, can be challenging to achieve. The TAA promotes purchasing American-made or designated allied country made products. While not all medical devices or their equivalents can be sourced from a TAA-compliant alternative, the VA will strive to find those substitutes whenever possible rather than move through the exception process. Factors in which a non-TAA compliant product might be purchased include scenarios in which TAA-compliant alternative products are confirmed to be unavailable, too expensive, or of insufficient quality.

Understand the Preferred Purchasing Pathway

The VA has many purchasing pathways available to it. It is critical for medical device manufacturers to understand the full range of those options as well as the preferred purchasing pathway for that specific type of medical device. Because multiple approaches to purchasing exist, a medical device manufacturer should start with an understanding of how its direct competitors are selling into the market in combination with the VA’s ultimately preferred approach to the acquisition. Procurement options available to the VA include: standardized Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) multi-year contracts, regional Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISNs) multi-year contracts or agreements, local facility-level multi-year contracts or agreements, open-market purchases with direct negotiations for each sale, open-market list-price purchases through a government purchase card, etc. This diversified approach offers the VA flexibility in device selection and cost-effectiveness but can prove challenging to understand without a federal market assessment.

Evidence-Based Effectiveness

Medical devices that are supported by strong evidence demonstrating their effectiveness for veteran-specific needs are typically prioritized for purchase among competing products within the VA. When engaging in medical device promotion in this market, highlighting this evidence is vital for increased adoption. Types of evidence to showcase include clinical trial results, real-world data, and peer-reviewed medical journals. Stressing statistically significant data and meaningful metrics (i.e., improved functionality, etc.) that align with the VA's priorities and veteran-specific needs can significantly increase success within the VA market.


Veterans have different healthcare needs than the general population and medical devices can fill gaps. A strong, VA-specific market strategy that includes a cost-effectiveness analysis is the best first step to maximizing potential success.


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