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Debate about the government’s 340B Drug Pricing Program continues to build as the program expands. Like all good controversies, this one has enthusiastic advocates and wild-eyed opponents, and it’s easy to get snagged by the passion of the partisans.
340B is a discount program that requires pharmaceutical companies to sell outpatient drugs – both branded and generic – to eligible health care organizations at significantly reduced prices, up to half off in some cases. The program was created in 1992 to help provider organizations that serve a lot of poor people stretch their resources.
Over the years, the eligibility criteria to participate has expanded repeatedly. Currently, safety-net hospitals, children’s hospitals, critical access hospitals, federal health centers and other organizations are eligible; organizations that fall into those categories must register and enroll in the 340B program.
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