The AAMC sent a Jan. 9 letter to Representatives Larry Bucshon, MD (R-Ind.) and Scott Peters (D-Calif.) highlighting concerns about, and opposing, a bill that would make changes to the 340B Drug Pricing Program. The 340B Protecting Access for the Underserved and Safety-Net Entities Act (340B PAUSE Act, H.R. 4710) would impose a two-year moratorium and create new reporting requirements for certain hospitals that participate in the program.
In the letter, AAMC Chief Public Policy Officer Karen Fisher, JD, notes that the changes outlined in H.R. 4710 “would provide no additional benefits for patients who rely on services that hospitals provide from the program’s savings.” In particular, the association raises concerns that the bill creates new burdensome reporting requirements on hospitals while not addressing any issues that arise with drug manufacturers that fail to comply with program requirements.
The AAMC also highlights problems with the bill’s proposed moratorium that prevents additional safety net hospitals and child sites from joining the 340B program. The letter states, “Safety net hospitals that participate in the 340B program provide a disproportionate share of care to Medicaid and low-income patients, while also providing a high level of uncompensated care. A moratorium would prevent these hospitals from expanding services and prohibit other hospitals that provide a high level of care to underserved populations from benefitting from the program.”
Additionally, the letter addresses unsubstantiated concerns about growth in the 340B program. “Due to the success of the program for so many patients and communities, Congress expanded the 340B program in 2010 to allow additional hospitals and other entities to participate in the program. This resulted in increased access to care and services to needy patients. Even with the addition of these new covered entities, 340B sales grew by less than 1 percentage point between 2012-2016 compared to total drug sales. In other words, while the program has grown and served more patients, it is not responsible for increased drug costs.”