A report paid for by a group backed by the pharmaceutical industry is the latest in a series of attempts to misrepresent a program that has a proven track record of helping poor patients and vulnerable communities.

For more than 20 years, the 340B Drug Pricing Program has provided financial relief from high prescription drug costs allowing eligible hospitals to stretch limited federal resources to reduce drug costs and expand health services to patients.

Yesterday’s report says 340B hospitals are more likely than non-340B hospitals to acquire independent physician practices. The group that sponsored the report claims that policymakers should examine whether the discounts hospitals receive by participating in the 340B program are fueling this trend.    

However, the report uses a questionable data methodology to identify hospitals that “potentially” acquired physician practices. In addition, the report identified only 143 hospitals, 87 of which participated in the 340B program, as “possibly acquiring” at least one physician practice from 2009-2013. The report also states that only 71 of those hospitals participated in 340B both during and prior to the acquisition month, and it does not attempt to examine whether these hospitals’ 340B status remained intact for a considerable period of time after the acquisition. These are very small numbers over a five-year period, and they do not make the case for the trend the group is trying to claim.

Moreover, the report itself admits that “there are numerous reasons why a hospital would decide to acquire a physician practice.” Hospitals are implementing new and better ways to deliver care that achieve better outcomes for patients. This includes hospitals strengthening ties to each other and to physicians to implement electronic medical records, coordinate care across the entire health care continuum and respond to new payment systems.

Finally, the report concludes that “it is beyond the scope of this study to determine whether 340B itself is contributing to physician practice acquisitions.”

Given the increasingly high cost of pharmaceuticals, the 340B program provides critical support to help hospitals’ efforts to build healthy communities. It is important for policymakers and the public to see through the attempt by the pharmaceutical industry to disparage a program that helps provide access to care for vulnerable communities. To learn about how hospitals use the 340B program to benefit their patients and communities, visit www.aha.org/Protect340B.

Related News Articles

Headline
The Department of Health and Human Services this week in a strongly worded letter to Eli Lilly calls into question recent actions by the drug manufacturer to…
Headline
The AHA again expressed concern to the Department of Health and Human Services about recent actions taken by several major drug manufacturers to limit the…
Headline
The AHA and other national health care groups yesterday urged the Department of Health and Human Services to protect 340B hospitals and the vulnerable…
Headline
The AHA today sent letters to the heads of U.S. operations for five large drug companies — Merck, Eli Lilly, Sanofi, Novartis and AstraZeneca — expressing “…
Headline
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit today overturned a 2018 district court decision that found the Department of Health and Human…
Headline
The Health Resources and Services Administration should increase its oversight of private nonprofit hospitals that participate in the 340B drug savings program…