Community health centers crack under pharma’s 340B restrictions
Caught in the middle between pharma and hospitals, a small faction of covered entities allies with PhRMA to scale back the program
A group of community health centers and consumer advocates has cracked under the 340B restrictions imposed by pharmas and is now working with the PhRMA trade association to upend the 340B program by limiting how much money participants can reap from it, and how they can spend the funds. Hospitals, however, are not on board, and the fate of the program could be decided by the outcome of pending litigation.
The 340B program was created by Congress in 1992 to allow hospitals and clinics with a disproportionate share of indigent patients to purchase drugs at discounted prices. The program has grown dramatically since 2010 when Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) allowed participants in 340B — referred to as covered entities —to access the lower pricing the program offers through an unlimited number of contract pharmacies. This has made it easier for the covered entities to scale up their usage of the program and often results in manufacturers paying duplicate discounts in the form of rebates to commercial or Part D plans, or Medicaid, for prescriptions that were already purchased at the highly discounted 340B price. ...