Today, the Alliance for Integrity and Reform of 340B (AIR 340B) released a white paper – The Impact of Growth in 340B Contract Pharmacy Arrangements – showingthat rapid contract pharmacy growth in the 340B program may not directly benefit the vulnerable patients for whom the program is intended. The paper highlights the growth of thousands of for-profit retail pharmacies – many of which are located in wealthier areas of the country.
As of January 2014, there were nearly 30,000 contract pharmacy arrangements – almost three times more than anticipated by HRSA when it expanded the contract pharmacy program. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) guidance does not require 340B providers or contract pharmacies to pass along discounts to needy, uninsured patients; and evidence suggests that vulnerable patients often do not benefit from hospital-based contract pharmacy arrangements.
With the explosive growth of these contracts and a shortage of regulatory oversight and accountability standards also comes an increased risk of diversion and duplicate drug discounts.
Congress established the 340B Drug Discount Program in 1992 to provide deep discounts on drugs for hospital and clinic outpatients, specifically targeted at facilities which served large numbers of uninsured, indigent and vulnerable patients.
As a member of AIR 340B, BIO believes this report provides further proof that the 340B program has departed significantly from its original intent, leading to evidence of abuse and potentially harmful consequences for patients.
The Alliance for Integrity and Reform of 340B (AIR 340B) is a coalition of patient advocacy groups, clinical care providers, and biopharmaceutical innovators and distributors dedicated to reforming and strengthening the 340B program to ensure it directly supports access to outpatient prescription medicines for uninsured indigent patients.