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Letters to the Editor

Modernize drug discount program

| Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, 9:00 p.m.

There are countless examples of good government gone wrong, and the 340B drug discount program may be another.

Created in 1992, it states that if drug manufacturers participate in Medicaid, they are required to give discounts to safety-net health-care providers that serve low-income or uninsured patients. The thinking was that by subsidizing the cost of medicines for the organizations providing care, these safety-net facilities would be able to enhance and increase access to services for needy patients.

But that's not what studies conducted on the program have shown. Recent studies show there is both a lack of transparency and accountability in the program. For instance, in 2015, the 340B program was estimated to have generated $6 billion in savings for covered entities. Where do those savings really go? Is there evidence that shows the money increases access for needy patients?

I applaud Congressman Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, and the House Energy and Commerce Oversight Subcommittee spearheading the examination of the 340B program and how hospitals are using savings to truly benefit patients.

It's time to modernize the 340B program to empower the true safety-net health-care facilities it is meant to help, as well as how participants use the savings to actually help vulnerable patients. This program is important and Congress must change it to be sure the funds are used appropriately.

Chad A. McCutcheon

Washington Township,

Westmoreland County

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