Today, Congressman Joe Pitts (PA-16), Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, and Congressman Bill Cassidy, M.D. (LA-06), member of the Health Subcommittee, sent a letter to the Health Resources and Services Administration asking for an end to the confusion over the definition of a patient in the 340B drug program.
The 340B program is intended to serve the nation's poor and uninsured who need access to critical pharmaceuticals. Last year, the Government Accountability Office found HRSA's oversight of the 340B program inadequate in part because of an outdated definition of "patient" set in 1996.
Congressman Pitts' statement follows:
"The 340B program has grown dramatically in recent years. We want to make sure that is serving the Americans most in need it was intended for. Following the GAO report, we believe it is past time for HRSA to update its definition of a patient to keep the program accountable."
Congressman Cassidy's statement follows:
"As a physician who continues to treat patients in a safety net hospital, I have a strong interest in the 340B program. The 340B program was designed to ensure our nation's most vulnerable have access to the medicines they need. There is some evidence the program is not working well and may indeed be contributing to drug shortages. A component of this may be the lack of a definition of who qualifies as a patient under the 340B program. Addressing this should be a high priority as to ensure the program continues to help those it is supposed to help."