Introduction: The 340B is a federal program that provides eligible rural hospitals, providers, and clinics the capability to purchase medications at reduced prices for outpatient use. Enrollment in the 340B program requires drug manufacturers to supply covered healthcare entities and eligible healthcare organizations medications at substantially reduced prices and has allowed covered entities to extend federal resources by offering more comprehensive services and reaching more of the vulnerable populations. The purpose of this research study was to examine utilization of 340B program within provider based clinics of a university medical school affiliated with a rural hospital to assess the benefits and barriers of its utilization.
Methodology: The methodology for this study was a literature review complemented with a semi-structured interview of an expert in 340B program. Seven electronic databases were utilized with a total of 21 sources referenced for this review.
Results: The type and volume of care provided in rural areas has been expanded as a result of the 340B program leading to median savings of $10,000 per month in prescription purchases. Pharmacy savings have ranged from $600 to $158,000 per month depending upon whether chemotherapy was available on an outpatient basis or not. In 2010, total cost of drug discounts equaled $6 billion dollars, and has been projected to be $12 billion by 2016 with a discount range between 30% to 50%.
Discussion/Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that the benefits in the types and volume of services provided outweigh the barriers of maintaining separate drug inventories and difficulties in the management of the outpatient pharmacy that include audits at the state and federal levels as well as audits from pharmaceutical manufacturers.
Ashford, H., Valli, L, Willis, W. & Coustasse, A. (2015) Utilization of 340B program in a rural hospital. In Business and Health Administration Association Proceedings, Deborah Gritzmacher, Editor, pp. 314-323.