Halting 340B funding would force 73% of hospitals to cut staff, study finds

If the 340B Drug Pricing Program were restricted or no longer available, safety-net hospitals would face a myriad of challenges, according to a recent study by 340B Health.

Signed into law in 1992, the 340B Drug Pricing Program — which has stirred up considerable controversy in recent years — allows certain safety-net healthcare organizations to purchase outpatient drugs at discounted prices.

In 2015, amid mounting criticism that the program is overly broad with insufficient oversight, federal regulators released their long-awaited "mega-guidance" for the 340B program. The guidance significantly narrows patient eligibility under the program.

With the program threatened, 340B Health, an association of 1,200 hospitals that participate in the 340B program, conducted a study to better understand the ramifications of program discontinuation.

The study revealed 73 percent of hospitals would have to cut staff without 340B savings. If the program were eliminated, 71 percent of hospitals anticipated fewer pharmacy services and 61 percent projected a reduction in programs outside the pharmacy. Without 340B savings, 41 percent of hospitals anticipated closing one or more clinics.

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