To put it simply, the 340B Drug Pricing Program is a US federal government program. It requires drug manufacturers to provide drugs to allow health care organizations at very low prices. Created in 1992 to help these company serve more poor and uninsured patients. Over the years this program has grown beyond its original intent and is misused by some partaker. In this article, we will examine how 340B hurts patients and providers from a healthcare economist’s perspective.
DiGiorgio argues the 340B has outlived its purposes.
One of the critics of the 340B program is Dr. Anthony DiGiorgio, a healthcare economist at University of South Carolina. He wrote an article called “Is it time to end 340B?” on the Healthcare Economist blog. The 340B program is not useful and some covered entities use it to make money, not to help patients. He shows some studies that prove that 340B does not make drugs cheaper for patients, give them better care, or make them better. Consequently, he says that 340B makes covered entities choose more costly drugs, grow their business, and do things that are not right, for example contract pharmacy deals and fake discounts.
How not to fall a victim to it – Healthcare.
As a patient or a provider, you may wonder how to avoid falling victim to the negative effects of 340B. Here are some tips:
- If you are a patient, ask your doctor or pharmacist if they are participating in the 340B program and how it affects your drug costs and choices. You may be able to find lower prices or better alternatives elsewhere.
- If you are a provider, be aware of the rules and regulations of the 340B program and comply with them. Do not use 340B drugs for ineligible patients or purposes. Do not engage in contract pharmacy arrangements or duplicate discounts that may violate the program’s integrity or harm other providers.
- If you are a policymaker, consider reforming or ending the 340B program to better align it with its original goals. Limit the eligibility criteria, increase the transparency and accountability, or replace the program with a more direct and efficient way of supporting safety-net providers and patients.
The 340B Drug Pricing Program is a well-intention but flawed program and is abused by some pharmaceuticals. However, it does not benefit patients or providers as intended. It creates distortions and inefficiencies in the health care market. A healthcare economist’s perspective suggests that the program should be reformed or ended to restore its original purpose and improve patient care.