Sen. Grassley Probes Drug Programs at Duke, UNC, Carolinas

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has asked Duke University Health System, University of North Carolina Hospitals and Carolinas Medical Center — three of the largest hospitals in North Carolina — to share information about their use of a discount drug program to determine if they are passing savings along to patients, according to a Charlotte Observer report.

Under the federal 340B program, hospitals can save 20 percent or more on outpatient drug purchases. The program requires drug manufacturers to provide price breaks to hospitals treating large numbers of poor and/or uninsured patients.

Sen. Grassley, who has repeatedly questioned whether non-profit organizations earn their tax exemption, sent letters to the health systems last week. He said the discounts seem to subsidize "bottom line operating margins," according to the report. The senator also cited an investigation by The News & Observer and The Charlotte Observer, which reported that large non-profit hospitals are significantly inflating the price of chemotherapy medications two to 10 times over the cost.

Sen. Grassley has asked the systems to explain the revenue they've received from 340B and explain how savings have been reinvested.

More Articles on Hospital Investigations:

North Carolina Hospitals Defend High Cancer Drug Prices
Report: Hospitals Increase Chemotherapy Drug Prices Up to 10 Times the Cost
California Bill Would Require Insurers to Slash Chemotherapy Pill Costs


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