340B discount medicine buys hit record $24.3B last year

Medications purchased at discounted rates under the federal 340B program hit a record $24.3 billion in 2018, up 26 percent from 2017, according to Health Resources and Service Administration data cited by pharmaceutical website Drug Channels.

Four report insights:

1. The 340B discount drug program, which allows participating healthcare organizations to purchase outpatient drugs at discounted prices, continues to expand at double-digit rates. Since 2014, the program has grown at an average rate of 28 percent per year.

2. The 340B program has grown to account for about 7 percent to 8 percent of the total U.S. drug market.

3. Nearly all of the billions of dollars of spending have been credited to hospitals, which make most of the purchases under the program.

4. The program is controversial, partially because the legislation that created it didn't specify how covered entities should use the funds and savings that the program generates. The program's supporters say that hospitals provide charity care, which justifies the growth of the program and the savings opportunities.

Read the full report here.

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