Health care providers and drug manufacturers should expect changes in the section 340B prescription drug discount program in the near future.
That was the message conveyed by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar during a recent conference held by the 340B Coalition.
The 340B program, which provides discounts on the prescription drugs dispensed on an outpatient basis by eligible providers to their low-income patients, has become increasing controversial in recent years as it has expanded and pharmaceutical companies have objected to the discounts they must provide.
Among the changes Azar suggested are coming are greater accountability among participating hospitals for how they use the savings they derive from the discounts and a narrowing of the difference between the prices hospitals pay for the drugs and their average sales price, which Azar said is currently too great. CMS recently imposed a 28 percent reduction of Medicare payments to participating providers for drugs dispensed to 340B-qualified patients.
To qualify for participation in the program, providers must serve especially high proportions of low-income patients. All Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals participate in the program.
Learn more about Secretary Azar’s comments from this Healthcare Dive article.