POLITICO - OMB health director: 340B program is 'really screwed up'
A top White House health official defended HHS’ recent regulation to make dramatic cuts to a federal drug discount program despite pushback from lawmakers and hospital groups
The 340B program is “incredibly flawed in how its operating,” OMB Associate Director for Health Programs Joe Grogan said this afternoon at Prevision Policy Friends of Cancer Research Biopharma Congress.
His remarks come a day after three hospitals groups filed a lawsuit against CMS’ plan to cut payments for physician-administered drugs by more than 28 percent, translating to $1.6 billion in less money for hospitals.
The 340B program, which requires drugmakers to provide steep discounts on outpatient drugs to non-profit hospitals and health clinics, has grown “far beyond its intent,” Grogan added, noting that in many instances it isn’t operating to meet its stated purpose of helping hospitals serve low-income and uninsured patients.
“Nobody who comes in to CMS or the secretary’s office or talks to HRSA or comes to OMBA says, ‘340B is working great and it should just continue to operate as its working and it does not need reform,’ unless they are totally divorced from reality,” Grogan said.
While Grogan declined to say if the Trump administration plans more action on the program, he said the takeaway message from the recent rulemaking is that the administration isn’t afraid to act to take on a program he described as “really screwed up,” even in the face of congressional opposition. “We are not wimps.”