340B: A Double-Edged Sword

While ASCO is calling to update the 340B drug discount program, hospitals that serve economically diverse populations make a case for the program: "Because of 340B, we don't have to turn patients away when they can't pay."

David Peace, MD, has worked at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the Division of Hematology/Oncology for close to two decades, treating a socioeconomic and ethnically diverse population of cancer patients, two thirds of whom lack adequate health insurance.

The main reason that Dr Peace is able to care for so many insured and underinsured patients is because his hospital participates in a drug discount government program, known as the 340B Drug Pricing Program, which provides eligible entities with steep reductions on outpatient prescription drugs.

"Managing a diverse population is a challenge to begin with, and when you add on financial issues that often prevail in these families it becomes even more of a challenge," said Dr Peace. "But because of 340B, we don't have to turn patients away when they can't pay."

Link to the Medscape article: http://bit.ly/15QZA6c