Clinics leaving family planning program may have to toss thousands of dollars worth of drugs

Health clinics planning to leave the federal family planning program for low-income Americans may have to destroy or return tens of thousands of worth of drugs, including contraceptives and intrauterine devices, Politico reports.

The Trump administration issued a final rule in February that makes sweeping changes to the federal program known as Title X.. 

Under a  new rule, any organization that provides or refers patients for abortions is ineligible for Title X funding to cover STD prevention, cancer screenings and contraception. Clinics in the Title X program also are eligible to buy discounted drugs using the 340B program.

Federal health officials told Politico that clinics leaving the family planning program because of  these changes may need to dispose of birth control pills, hormone treatments and other family planning drugs they bought at a discount under the 340B program.

Maine Family Planning,  the state's only Title X grantee, announced it would withdraw from the program because of the new rule. As a result, the agency may have to dispose of $80,000 to $100,000 worth of drugs, Maine Family Planning's CEO George Hill told Politico. 

"Whatever contraceptive supplies we have on hand as of July 31, we're going to have to destroy those that were purchased with federal money," Mr. Hill said. "We can't recycle it, we can't donate it; there are very strict rules surrounding the transfer of drugs."

A Health Resources and Services Administration spokesperson told Politico that some Title X clinics leaving the family planning program may be able to keep some of the discounted medications if they're designated under 340B in other ways, such as by being a federally qualified health center.

However, if they aren't qualified, they must return the drugs to the wholesaler or destroy them in accordance with state laws. Some clinics may be able to get a partial refund, according to the report. 

Access the full report here

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