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Grassley: Questions Continue About 340B Discount Drug Program

M E M O R A N D U M

To: Reporters and editors
Re: Discount prescription drug program
Da: Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa is looking into how hospitals are using a discount prescription drug program, known as 340B. Certain hospitals appear to be making sizeable profits from the program at the expense of Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance. Grassley asked the federal agency in the charge of the program, the Health Resources and Services Administration, about its oversight of the program. HRSA’s response is available here. Grassley’s letter to HRSA is available here. Grassley made the following comment on the response.

“The law requires HRSA to increase its guidance to participants in areas such as the definition of a patient. I intend to follow up with HRSA on the progress of those updates. Congress needs to know the extent to which the agency believes it lacks the statutory authority to ensure that hospitals use the 340B program to help the uninsured receive affordable prescription drugs. Medicare and private insurance are paying much more for some drugs than the hospitals paid because of the program discount. Congress needs a full picture of how hospitals are using the program and how their uses affect other programs in the health care system.”

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