Republican lawmakers to push for substantial changes to 340B program

Following a two-year review of the 340B drug program, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee is recommending the federal government be granted greater authority and oversight to monitor the program, The Hill reports.

The 340B program, created in 1992, requires drug companies to sell select medication at steep discounts to hospitals and health system that serve a significant number of low-income patients. Medicare reimburses participating healthcare organizations at a higher rate than the amount the institutions paid, allowing the organizations to keep the difference and use those funds to expand services for patients.

More than 12,000 entities participate in the 340B program, according to the report.

"When you have this many participants and a growth rate at the pace it's on, the lack of audits, the lack of transparency, the lack of accountability and the lack of consistent reporting, it’s time for Congress to do its job and step up and give definition, transparency and accountability to the 340B program," Greg Walden, R-Ore., chairman of the HECC, told reporters Tuesday.

The report found participating hospitals and health systems are not required to track how much they save through the program or how they use reimbursement funds.

The committee also recommended Congress grant the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration the authority to oversee the program and provide the agency with additional resources necessary to carry out their goal.

To read the full report from The Hill, click here.

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