The Alliance for Integrity and Reform of 340B (AIR340B) released a new report by Xcenda, titled “340B and Health Equity: A Missed Opportunity in Medically Underserved Areas,” which found a dismal 38% of 340B disproportionate share hospitals (DSH) are located in medically underserved areas (MUAs) as defined by the Health Resources and Services Administration, despite their mission of “serving a significantly disproportionate number of low-income patients.”
“Safety-net facilities that participate in the 340B program have a responsibility to support low-income and vulnerable patients, but it’s clear that is often not the case. Instead, the vast majority of DSH hospitals, their child sites and affiliated contract pharmacies are located in more affluent areas rather than in the communities of medically underserved populations,” said AIR340B Spokesperson and former Illinois Congressman Bob Dold. “This analysis adds to the mounting evidence that, despite the exponential growth of the 340B program, low-income and vulnerable patients are not receiving the care they need. With only four in ten DSH hospitals – and less than one third of their child sites and affiliated contract pharmacies – located in MUAs, it is clear the program is being exploited for financial gain with no consequences.
“AIR340B has been a longstanding advocate for fixes to the program to ensure it works for patients, and the majority of voters agree: hospitals and pharmacies should not be making money off safety-net programs intended to help low-income and vulnerable patients. Fortunately, the 340B program can play an important role in advancing health equity if Congress acts now. We urge Congress and the administration to reconsider eligibility standards for participating in the 340B program, a commonsense solution that – coupled with increased transparency and oversight – will help prevent further abuse from profit-seeking hospitals and pharmacies.”
Today, the Alliance for Integrity and Reform of 340B (AIR340B) released a new report by Health Capital Group that uncovered significant growth in sales within the 340B Drug Pricing Program, including a near 200% increase in hospital participation in the program over the last decade. The question that remains is whether this growth has benefited patients.
“This new report is further evidence that the 340B program has become a lucrative revenue stream for disproportionate share hospitals and their contract pharmacies as a result of lax oversight and dismal transparency requirements. The data, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, are proof of how difficult it is to ensure the vulnerable and uninsured communities the program is intended to support are benefiting from this exponential growth. At a minimum, greater oversight, transparency, and accountability should be required of these bad stewards of the program so we can ensure 340B is working for patients,” said former Illinois Congressman and AIR340B Spokesman Bob Dold.