The section 340B prescription drug discount program has grown increasingly controversial in recent years.
The program, established in the 1990s to help hospitals with the cost of the prescription drugs they provide to low-income patients on an outpatient basis, has grown considerably since its inception. Pharmaceutical companies argue that it is too large, that it contributes to the growing cost of prescription drugs, and that hospitals are not using the savings they reap from the program to serve more low-income patients, as was envisioned when Congress created the program.
Eligible providers, on the other hand, note that much of the program’s growth was mandated by Congress and that 340B continues to serve its original purpose of helping hospitals serve low-income outpatients while using the savings the program generates to provide even further assistance to low-income patients.
Recent federal efforts to address some of these issues have satisfied neither side.
Most private safety-net hospitals participate in the 340B program and consider it to be a vital tool in helping them serve their communities.
The Vox news web site has published an article that describes the program and outlines both sides of the argument. Find it here.