Over the past 30 years, the 340B Drug Pricing Program has played an essential role in ensuring health care providers have the necessary resources to provide vital programs and services for underserved patients and communities. Ongoing bipartisan support of the program is critical to ensuring continued access to needed care for patients. As drug prices continue to rise rapidly with advances in specialty pharmacy and biologics, 340B will become even more important to addressing access, affordability, health outcomes and disparities.
History of the 340B Program
In 1992,Congress created the 340B Drug Pricing Program as part of a strong bipartisan effort to protect hospitals and patients from the growing problem of rising drug costs. Lawmakers modeled the program after the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program, which protects state Medicaid programs from the high costs of drugs with limits on the amount those programs must pay. The 340B program adopted a similar approach to help certain hospitals stretch scarce resources to reach as many patients as possible and provide more comprehensive services at no additional cost to taxpayers. With the emergence of specialty drugs to treat chronic and acute conditions — and extensive patents protecting drug companies' abilities to price these drugs with limited to no competition — the 340B program has become an even greater resource for hospitals and their patients as they struggle to pay the high prices for many of these lifesaving drugs and treatments.
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