This is one component of a larger discussion about drug pricing in America. We anticipate the 340B program will continue to be brought up in this discussion, though it remains to be seen where the conversations will go. —Emily Cook
Explore This IssueJanuary 2019
Where Does the Money Go?
Congress and CMS have said that the intent of the program is to enable participating entities to “stretch scarce Federal resources as far as possible, reaching more eligible patients and providing more comprehensive services,” according to the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration website detailing the 340B Program.
But there have been concerns about whether the money saved on 340B medications is directly affecting patients or is being retained by hospitals and clinics for their own use. “Because of the lack of transparency, oversight, and accountability, we can observe tremendous variability across the country in the philanthropic commitment of 340B hospitals in using additional revenue to enhance care for vulnerable patient populations,” Dr. Patt stated in her testimony. “Because spending incremental 340B revenue on vulnerable patients is not mandated, some hospitals use these funds to build lavish new towers and enhance executive compensation.”
But ultimately, said Cook, the discussion over 340B program cuts is just one part of a bigger issue. “This is one component of a larger discussion about drug pricing in America,” said Cook, who has represented hospital and other healthcare entities participating in the 340B program for more than a decade. “We anticipate the 340B program will continue to be brought up in this discussion, though it remains to be seen where the conversations will go.”
Cheryl Alkon is a freelance medical writer based in Massachusetts.