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State board defers decision on $120M pharmacy contract

ANNAPOLIS — The Maryland Board of Public Works has deferred action on a $120 million pharmacy contract for the state’s prison inmates after a long and contentious debate.

The board decided Wednesday to postpone a vote on the five-year contract with Diamond Pharmacy to wait for unsuccessful competing bids to have their protests heard at the Maryland State Board of Contract Appeals.

T. Eloise Foster, Gov. Martin O’Malley’s budget secretary, said the state could save $24 million over five years by approving Diamond’s contract without delay. But Comptroller Peter Franchot disagreed with awarding a large contract in the face of two active bid protests.

The deferral means Correct Rx Pharmacy Services Inc. will continue to provide services until the appeals are resolved. Correct Rx is one of the bids making an appeal.