340B reforms needed
“Successful reforms to 340B would close these loopholes that allow providers to unjustifiably profit from the program,” according to Winegarden. “Reforms to 340B would discourage further consolidation based on the potential 340B profits and allow smaller practices to remain independent.”
Nearly two-thirds of all 340B hospitals spent below the national average on charity care, according to a 2014 Medicare Cost Report data. “That means many for-profit hospitals are actually spending more on charity care than 340B hospitals,” Winegarden says.
“The 340B program also has increased the financial burden on our entire healthcare system. Mandating discounts on certain medications means that the costs of developing those drugs fall elsewhere,” he says.
According to Winegarden, this has led to increased insurance deductibles and copays, spiked premiums, and higher overall costs.
“Industry leaders should be aware that increased abuse of 340B may lead to higher levels of pressure on Congress to reform the program,” Winegarden says. “Necessaray reforms would improve oversight of the program and ensure that it actually serves its original purpose of providing uninsured and vulnerable patients with the critical medications that they need at prices they can afford.”