The U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee this week held the second in a series of hearings examining the 340B drug savings program. Representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Government Accountability Office testified on oversight reports related to the program and shared recommendations for improving it.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), the panel’s senior Democrat, described how Olympic Medical Center, EvergreenHealth Monroe and Kootenai Health use 340B savings to fund programs that increase access to care for patients in vulnerable communities. She also said the program should be strengthened and there should be “more accountability and transparency for everyone in our drug system.”
Ann Maxwell, OIG’s assistant inspector general for evaluation and inspections, said the Health Resources and Services Administration, which oversees the 340B program, has made “great strides in improving program integrity,” but more must be done related to transparency and program rules.
Meanwhile, more than 60 patient groups this week urged congressional leaders to support the 340B program, urging lawmakers to “reject any proposals that weaken this important tool for lowering drug prices.” This is reportedly one of the first times consumer groups have taken a stand on 340B. (John Flink, WSHA Federal Lobbyist)