State awards $33 million contract without seeking competitive bids

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Who says deals aren't made in Raleigh with a wink and a nudge? I sure as shit didn't.

State lawmakers will tell you the reason they gave an exclusive, multi-million dollar contract to a couple of questionable brothers was because they were looking out for our best interest and the state's bottom line. Sure. Sure this deal is saving the state, and thus its taxpayers, money. Sure it is.

Listen up lawmakers: If the rules say get competing bids, get competing bids. We don't want any lip about it, either.

How would you like it one of us came before a judge and said, "The sign said 'Speed Limit 55,' nowhere on there did it say I couldn't do 55 miles per hour in reverse."

We have rules for a reason.

North Carolina has awarded a Medicaid contract worth $33 million to a newly formed diabetes supply company run by two brothers with a checkered business history, including a recent bankruptcy and lawsuits alleging patent piracy.

The state contract, signed in October, gave an exclusive deal to Prodigy Diabetes Care without competitive bids by other companies. The contract establishes Prodigy as the only supplier of glucose monitors and test strips for the 50,000 Medicaid recipients in North Carolina who have diabetes.

Patients' advocates have raised concerns, contending the Prodigy meters are little-known and could cause confusion - even medical problems - among diabetics who rely on the devices to measure their blood-glucose levels and manage their disease.

State officials say the deal was struck to save money in a cash crunch. Medicaid, which pays health bills for poor people using state and federal tax dollars, is expected to save $4.4 million over the two-year life of the contract , with the Charlotte-based company promising rebates on many of its diabetes products.

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One competitor, Roche Diagnostic Corp., wrote a letter of protest to the state, contending that the no-bid process violates federal Medicaid rules.

"Certainly, had Roche been given the opportunity, we could have also negotiated with DHHS or its agent and may have provided even greater cost savings to the state of North Carolina," a company official wrote.

Read the rest of this Charlotte Observer article, by Sarah Avery and Lynn Bonner, and find out about who this state contract was awarded to here.

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