It’s been 30 years since the 340B drug discount program was established. After three decades, an important question is being asked: has the program resulted in more low-income patients being able to access the medicines and treatments they need?
In a commentary for STAT, NPC President and CEO John M. O’Brien, PharmD, MPH, discusses the challenges of answering this question. The program’s lack of data collection and simple transparency requirements obscures whether discounted medications are reaching patients or savings are being siphoned off by the entities for other purposes.
It's time to have an honest conversation and recognize that the 340B program has grown far beyond its intended purpose. Protecting the charity care it provides requires measuring and ferreting out the profiteering the law has enabled. An important first step is more transparency into how 340B works and who is truly benefiting from it.
In the commentary, Dr. O’Brien cites a recent study from IQVIA that signals why more transparency and discussion are needed. The study found that just 1.4% of 340B-eligible claims show that discounts were actually given to patients.