publication date: Oct. 10, 2014

Study: Drug Discounts Used For Wealthier Patients In Many 340B-Enrolled Hospitals

Hospitals that qualified for the 340B drug pricing program in 2004 or later were more likely to serve wealthier communities with higher rates of health insurance coverage, according to a study published Oct. 6 in the journal Health Affairs.

The primary purpose of the 340B program—established by Congress in 1992—was to provide significantly discounted outpatient drugs to low-income and uninsured patients.

“The 340B program is being converted from one that serves vulnerable patient populations to one that enriches hospitals and their affiliated clinics,” wrote study authors Rena Conti and Peter Bach. “These results suggest that the expansions among 340B DSH hospitals run counter to the program’s original intention.”

Conti is an assistant professor of health policy and economics in the Departments of Pediatrics and Health Studies at the University of Chicago, and Bach is a pulmonologist, health systems researcher, and director of the Center for Health Policy and Outcomes at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Conti and Bach matched data for 960 hospitals and 3,964 affiliated clinics registered with the 340B program in 2012 with the socioeconomic data of their communities from the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Beginning around 2004, newly registered 340B DSH hospitals have tended to be in higher-income communities, compared to hospitals that joined the 340B program earlier,” the authors wrote. “Other recent analyses have suggested that hospitals receiving DSH payments are shifting some specialty care from the inpatient to the outpatient setting, where drug discounts gained from participation in the 340B program may generate increased profits.”

The 340B program has grown dramatically in … Continue reading 40-38 Study: Drug Discounts Used For Wealthier Patients In Many 340B-Enrolled Hospitals

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