20 Jun STAT: An insider’s view of the myths and misconceptions behind 340B ‘reform’
“I hardly recognize the 340B drug discount program when I read the pharmaceutical industry’s criticisms about it. They say that 340B has grown too big, is without oversight and transparency, and is in desperate need of reform. Having spent more than a decade working with this program at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Office of Pharmacy Affairs, I know that such attacks on the program are unfounded, unfair, and dangerous.
Established with bipartisan support in 1992, the 340B drug discount programrequires drug manufacturers to provide discounts to certain safety-net providers as a condition of Medicaid and Medicare paying for manufacturers’ drugs. The program is not funded by taxpayer dollars but instead relies on manufacturers to provide discounts to safety-net providers. These include high-Medicaid nonprofit hospitals, federally qualified health centers, Ryan White clinics, and other federally funded clinics. Since 2010, pharmaceutical companies have experienced an increased responsibility to provide more discounts through 340B and began stepping up their criticism of the program.
Three arguments used by 340B critics are particularly insidious because they are being advanced under the guise of helping patients and improving the program. The truth is that if these “reform” measures are implemented, the program would be led down a path of fundamental and dangerous change which would destabilize safety-net providers, deprive patients of necessary resources, and increase costs for taxpayers.”