Powers attorneys Peggy Tighe and Barbara Straub Williams were quoted in a Pharmacy Practice News article about a recent Community Oncology Alliance (COA) report that accuses some safety net hospitals of gaming the 340B drug pricing program to boost profits.
The COA report stated that some hospitals participating in the 340B Drug Pricing Program charge nearly four times their acquisition costs for drug and pocket the difference. In the article, Powers attorneys Peggy Tighe and Barbara Straub Williams responded to this accusation, pointing out that those savings are used by safety net hospitals to provide clinical care and social services for low-income patients.
Peggy noted that safety net providers of all types, including Ryan White clinics, use their 340B savings to assist patients. Peggy is quoted as saying, “Without the 340B program, there’s really no way that Ryan White Clinics can do all that they do for the communities they serve. The reason is pretty simple: Not only did they get discounts on outpatient prescription drugs because they’re eligible to participate in the 340B program, they were able to invest the savings and additional insurance revenue in comprehensive care services. So those monies enable the Ryan White Clinics to do a lot more than just get discounted drugs.”
Barbara expanded on this point, noting that Congress specifically wrote legislation that allows non-profit safety net providers to use those drug discount savings to provide services to their communities: “Congress didn’t say you have to directly pass along the drug discount to the patient. Most 340B-covered entities have financial assistance programs, so if a patient needs the discount, they can get it. But if a patient is privately insured, and they’re an eligible patient of that 340B-covered entity, then the savings goes back to that covered entity and is used to provide other community services.”