340B Resources

The 340B Drug Discount Program was created in 1992 and provides eligible hospitals with access to discounted drug prices for their patients receiving outpatient hospital services.  Eligible hospitals include those that provide a disproportionate amount of care to low-income patients, Critical Access Hospitals (CAH), Rural Referral Centers, Sole Community Hospitals and children’s hospitals.

The 340B Drug Discount Program requires pharmaceutical manufacturers to provide prescription drugs to qualifying hospitals and other covered entities at or below a “340B ceiling price” established by the Health Resources and Services Administration.  These drugs are then provided to all hospital patients with the exception of those patients on the Medicaid program. 

Approximately one-third of all U.S. hospitals now participate in the 340B program, yet pharmaceuticals purchased at 340B pricing account for only 5% of all medicines purchased in the United States each year.  This program produces significant savings for safety-net providers, generally between 20% and 50% of the drug’s cost.  

Currently, 27 Maine hospitals qualify for the 340B Drug Discount program and receive a collective benefit estimated to be $356 million a year.  Eliminating the 340B benefit would have a devastating impact on hospital financial health.

The Challenge.  Carriers and pharmaceutical companies are taking increasingly aggressive action to undermine the intent of the program and are having an impact.  They are unilaterally choosing to no longer provide drugs at the 340B discount price and they are challenging aspects of the program in court. 
If they succeed in their goal of reducing the benefit of 340B, hospitals will lose crucial support, patients will see no financial relief and pharmaceutical companies will laugh all the way to the bank.  If the carriers are successful in court, the financial viability of hospitals in Maine will be in jeopardy.