GAO: 340B hospitals, outside pharmacies need more oversight

The federal 340B drug discount program is designed to give low-income hospitals a price break on some Medicaid drugs, but a review by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds that 25 of 55 covered entities did not pass savings on to uninsured patients.

The federal 340B drug discount program is designed to give low-income hospitals a price break on some Medicaid drugs, but a review by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds that 25 of 55 covered entities did not pass savings on to uninsured patients. The agency says the program, which has previously been criticized for a lack of transparency and other issues, needs to be revamped to avoid duplicate price breaks and to ensure compliance with outside pharmacies. In a <a href="https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-18-480&quot; target="_blank">report</a> to the Health Resources and Services Administration, GAO offers seven recommendations, including that covered entities should have to register contract pharmacies. "Oversight has not kept pace with program growth&#8212;lacking rigorous oversight, meaningful reporting requirements, and reliable data," declare Reps. Greg Walden (R-OR) and Michael Burgess (R-TX). "Now this new report by the nonpartisan GAO shows that oversight is fundamentally lacking when it comes to important compliance issues for contract pharmacies within the program." The report could refocus lawmaker attention on 340B, although at least one advocacy group complains that added documentation and requirements could increase the burden on safety-net hospitals targeted by the program.