340B Drug Pricing Program Revisited

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I have to disagree with some of the conclusions drawn by Drs. Hagop Kantarjian and Robert Chapman in their editorial on the 340B Drug Pricing Program, which appeared in the January 25 issue of The ASCO Post. Although I’m sure I’m not the best person to provide an alternate view, I do feel strongly that one should be offered.

I’m in community practice—where 80% of the country gets its treatment. I’ll admit I’m biased against 340B because it doesn’t allow a level playing field. Basically, 340B hospitals receive massively increased profits even if specific patients are wealthy or well insured. It’s a gross manipulation of the original intent of the law.

In particular, I think the paragraph stating that “hospitals are purchasing oncology practices regardless of 340B status” is absurd. And the reference for that argument is the authors’ own article in the Journal of Oncology Practice.

Finally, I find the authors reporting no conflicts of interest to be disingenuous. If the hospital systems that employ them benefit from the 340B program, that is absolutely a conflict of interest. ■

—Robert Manges, MD
Indianapolis, Indiana




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