Manatt Health Partner Helen Pfister was quoted in Modern Healthcare on the possibility that some hospitals might lose access to the 340B federal discount drug program due to changes in patient mix as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 340B program allows qualifying hospitals to buy deeply discounted drugs from manufacturers, but has strict eligibility requirements which are tied in part to the number of Medicaid and low income Medicare patients the hospitals see. If a hospital’s patient mix changed due to the pandemic, it might no longer qualify for the program. Congressional action would be necessary to address this, and Pfister noted that action on this issue could potentially be included in a broader 340B package. “There’s always been talk about giving HRSA more authority to regulate the 340B program,” Pfister said. “Given everything that’s going on, Congress might be more willing to act than it has in the past.”
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