The 340B Drug Discount Program: Why More Transparency Will Help Low-Income Communities

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<p>The federal 340B Drug Pricing Program is currently a focus of oversight efforts in Congress. In a new post on <em>To the Point</em>, the University of Chicago’s Rena M. Conti shows why greater transparency is needed for the program, which requires drug manufacturers to provide discounted outpatient drugs to qualified health care facilities serving low-income patients. In recent years, the number of hospitals and their affiliated clinics and pharmacies participating in the program has increased markedly.</p><p>Research conducted by Conti and her colleagues found that 340B hospitals recently accounted for nearly half of all hospital drug charges in outpatient settings. Even so, clinics and pharmacies affiliated with hospitals in Medicaid’s disproportionate share hospital (DSH) program are not required to provide any information on their patient population or the community benefits they are providing. </p>
<p>Legislation now under consideration would dramatically increase what hospitals are required to report on their 340B revenues and the safety-net services these revenues fund. But given that 340B DSH hospitals and their affiliates encompass financially sophisticated nonprofits as well as financially unstable public hospitals, caution is warranted as reporting requirements are designed, Conti says.</p> Learn more