340B Meets Part B: Payment Proposal Unites Big Pharma and Safety Net Providers
This article was originally published in RPM Report
The annual hunt for “pay-fors” is on: Congress is looking for offsets to pay for the cost of reversing physician payment cuts under Medicare. One idea would be to allow Medicare Part B to capture the prices of the 340B discount program. Providers who use 340B hate the idea – and manufacturers do too.
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A House Energy & Commerce/Health Subcommittee hearing on the 340B drug discount program suggests there is bipartisan interest in legislation to enhance oversight of the program – but little interest in steps that might dramatically curtail the availability of discounted drugs to hospitals and other safety net providers.
The trade group files a lawsuit seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions against implementation of a final rule that requires 340B discounts for the non-orphan uses of drugs with an orphan designation.
The health care reform law dramatically expanded the number of entities eligible to purchase drugs via the federally administered 340B program, while simultaneously increasing the size of the mandatory discounts given to covered entities. Manufacturers are understandably frustrated. Rather than hope for elimination of the program, however, they may be better served working within the system to contain its impact.