Opinion: Pursuit of profits is driving drug companies to break the 340B law

Seventeen drug companies, including some of the world’s largest, are flouting a 30-year-old federal program that supports hospitals serving patients with low incomes and those who live in rural communities. Both the Trump and Biden administrations have deemed these actions unlawful. But these drugmakers continue to ignore the law, sapping resources from the nation’s health care safety net and threatening the health of the patients who rely on it for care.

The program in question is the 340B drug pricing program, named after the section of federal law that created it. Congress enacted 340B in 1992 in a bipartisan effort to provide safety-net providers resources to serve more patients in need and provide comprehensive services they otherwise would not be able to offer. The law requires drug companies to offer discounted prices to eligible safety-net providers on certain outpatient drugs. In return, Congress approved having Medicaid and Medicare Part B cover the participating companies’ products, a deal that has been highly lucrative for drugmakers.

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