5 notes from the AHA's latest 340B report

Drug prices are rising faster than inflation, according to a new report from the American Hospital Association.

Both the rising costs and increasing legislative moves to change 340B reporting requirements are concerns for hospitals that participate in the drug pricing program, which could change how patients in rural and low-income communities access needed medications.

"The 340B program plays an important public policy role in ensuring access to essential drugs and services for low-income and underserved Americans receiving care at 340B hospitals nationwide," the AHA report states. "Without the program, many patients could have trouble accessing affordable medications and critical health services, jeopardizing their health and well-being."

Since July 2020, more than two dozen major drugmakers have increased prices and tightened restrictions on 340B discounts, which at times has resulted in adverse patient outcomes. 

The AHA is seeking to prove 340B's value to hospitals as legislation continues to advance and propose changes to the 31-year-old program that has allowed participating hospitals to treat low-income and uninsured patients and purchase drugs at a discounted rate.

Five other notable findings from the AHA report: 

  1. Inflation for more than 1,200 drugs between 2021 and 2022 averaged a 31.6 percent increase.

  2. Prices for injectables, biologics and oncology drugs have increased the most.

  3. Around 48 percent of all Medicare outpatient drugs exceeded inflation rates both in 2019 and 2020.
  4. Hospitals that participate in the 340B drug pricing program provide care for 77 percent of Medicaid patients in the U.S.

  5. For every dollar spent on 340B drugs, participant hospitals have provided more than $2 in benefit to the patients.

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