27 Jun Opinion: Cuts to Drug-Pricing Program Put Safety-Net Hospitals at Risk
“In his efforts to control the dramatic rise in drug prices, President Donald Trump and his administration have put forward a number of promising proposals that could save patients and providers money. But the issues raised about the 340B drug-pricing program would move us in the wrong direction.
Americans are justly concerned about the ceaseless rise in drug prices. Major manufacturers have announced new price increases. For example, Bayer AG has raised the prices on two cancer drugs by more than $1,000 a month. A Wells Fargo & Co. research note said that although fewer drug price increases happened in May, there were still dozens of increases. These increases and others like them tax the ability of patients to afford their medications and limit hospitals’ capacity to care for low-income patients in need.
Since 1992, the 340B drug-pricing program has required drugmakers to discount their prices when they sell to nonprofit and public hospitals that serve significant numbers of low-income and rural patients. The savings from those discounts allow these hospitals to provide 60 percent of all uncompensated care in the country despite representing 38 percent of all hospitals.
The Trump blueprint asks whether changes to this critical program could reduce drug prices and save patients money. The truth is, those changes would raise the cost of drugs to safety-net providers that care for low-income and rural patients, and they would do nothing to lower drug prices.”