publication date: Jun. 13, 2014


By Paul Goldberg

Many people love the 340B Drug Pricing Program.

Hospitals, clinics and cancer centers rely on it to buy drugs at discounts as deep as 50 percent—and then collect reimbursements that don’t reflect the discount.

Many others hate 340B, arguing that the federal program gives qualified providers an unfair advantage, and making it even more difficult for office-based oncology practices to survive.

According to critics, the program is poorly defined, and is increasingly abused by entities that don’t need help from the government.

Discounts don’t necessarily reduce aggregate costs of medical care, critics say. Pharmaceutical companies can make up for lost revenues simply by increasing the prices.

Established in 1992 to benefit hospitals and clinics that serve the needy, 340B has expanded exponentially in recent years. About a third of the country’s non-federal hospitals qualify for the program, and 340B now accounts for about 2 percent of the $325 billion U.S. retail spending on prescription drugs.

Over the past several years, many key players in oncology have been questioning the program’s expansion and its eligibility criteria. All of these disparate interests—those who love 340B and those who hate it—have been waiting for the federal Health Resources and Services Administration to issue a “mega-rule,” which is expected to define who should qualify for 340B discounts.

Insiders say that the draft mega-rule has been completed by the agency and is undergoing review by the Office of Management and Budget.

Its eagerly anticipated release, expected to occur later … Continue reading 40-24 Judge’s Order Likely to Derail Federal Rule Clarifying 340B Drug Discount Program

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