340B: Health system execs push back on narrowing of drug discount program

The House Energy and Commerce's subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on Wednesday conducted a hearing on the federal 340B drug discount program.

The House Energy and Commerce's subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on Wednesday conducted a hearing on the federal 340B drug discount program. Proponents of the program say that the discounts help offset the cost of care for uninsured and low-income patients, while critics warn it can be abused when savings are accrued but not passed on to patients, with many calling for the program to be narrowed or eliminated. Sue Veer, president and CEO of Carolina Health Centers, said that her system's program of delivering prescription drugs to rural areas would have to be cut if 340B is eliminated. Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) questioned why none of the executives on the panel said that if the program were cut that overhead expenses would be cut rather than services. Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), meanwhile, added that the program needs more government oversight. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) questioned why pharmaceutical companies want more transparency on the 340B program but have spent millions to defeat state bills that seek to increase transparency on drug prices.

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